Distracted driving enforcement campaign aims to reduce tragedy

Extra enforcement on Minnesota roads April 8-30
Star Herald Editorial

Distracted driving enforcement campaign aims to reduce tragedy

Extra enforcement on Minnesota roads April 8–30

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, distracted driving-related crashes have claimed an average of 45 lives per year over the past five years.

Each of these tragedies has caused a lifetime of grief and pain for the families left behind, and the drivers responsible for the crashes must live with the guilt of their negligence.

To increase awareness and change dangerous behaviors, more than 300 Minnesota law enforcement agencies will begin a three-week extra distracted driving enforcement campaign starting April 8.

The distracted driving campaign, which runs through April 30, is coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety.

 

Distracted driving is dangerous driving

•Continuing a six-year trend, texting and driving citations jumped 30 percent from 2017 to 2018 with 9,545 tickets written by law enforcement statewide in 2018, according to Minnesota court records.

•Since 2012, texting citations increased by 459 percent.

•Distracted driving contributes to one in five crashes in Minnesota.

•Distracted driving has contributed to an average of 45 deaths and 204 life-changing injuries per year since 2014.

 

See graphic below

 

Distracted driving consequences

With Minnesota’s “No Texting” law, it’s illegal for drivers to read or send texts and emails and access the web while the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic.

That includes sitting at a stoplight or stop sign. Penalties for this violation can include:

•$50 plus court fees for a first offense.

•$275 plus court fees for a second and/or subsequent offense.

If you injure or kill someone because of texting and driving, you can face a felony charge of criminal vehicular operation or homicide.

 

Speak up and join Minnesotans driving distracted-free

•Put the phone down, turn it off or place it out of reach.

•Pre-program radio stations and arrange music in an easy-to-access spot. Adjust mirrors and ventilation before traveling.

•Map out navigation destinations and enter the GPS route in advance.

•Avoid messy foods while driving and secure drinks.

•Teach children the importance of good behavior in a vehicle and model proper driving behavior.

Passengers, speak up to stop drivers from distracted driving behavior and offer to help with anything that takes the driver’s attention off the road.

 

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