Investigators: Passing on the right; being in the wrong - KMSP-TV

Investigators: Passing on the right; being in the wrong

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You're stopped behind a line of traffic. The right shoulder beckons, as if saying, 'Just go around them." But passing on the right is illegal and has been the wrong move more times than state safety folks realized until the FOX 9 Investigators started checking.

We asked the state for information on all fatalities involving passing on the right, but they weren't easy to find. That's because they're lumped in with all crashes caused by illegal passing or overtaking.

Nonetheless, there have been five since 2008. In four of those cases, it was the drivers themselves who died after crashing while attempting to pass on the right.

In the fifth case, a 3-year old boy was killed in Merrified, Minn., in 2009.

Jack Larson was with his sister, brother and cousins when they began to cross Highway 25. They stopped to watch for cars before stepping onto the street, but when traffic stopped for them, Jack hesitantly crossed. That's when a car passed the stopped traffic on the right shoulder at 45 miles an hour, hitting and killing Jack.

After his death, Jack's grandma created something that she hopes will get drivers to think about the problem. Her family helped her make magnetic bumper stickers to put on the back right side of a vehicle to serve as reminder to other drivers about the dangers of passing on the right.

A first-of-its-kind FOX 9 driving experiment revealed that drivers who pass on the right don't always know what lies ahead.

With help from the Minnesota Highway Safety and Research Center in St. Cloud, the FOX 9 Investigators used the 5-mile track to safely simulate real-life driving situations.

Our driving instructor, Larry Nadeau, explained that the purpose of the experiment was to illustrate the limits of the line of sight. His staff set up a scenario where a line of cars has stopped on one side of the road to allow for a child to cross the road.

Watch the video to see the experiment.

To get more information about driving classes at the Minnesota Highway Safety and Research Center, you can either visit them online or call 1-888-234-1294.

If you would like to get one of the bumper stickers, send an e-mail to

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