Minnesota’s Recent Traffic Safety Campaign Focused On Distracted Driving

Drivers with their eyes on their phones discovered that law enforcement had their eyes on them during Minnesota’s recent distracted driving enforcement campaign. Nearly 400 law enforcement agencies across Minnesota participated in the campaign conducted by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety. Here are some tips to stay safe behind the wheel.

Distracted driving is a leading factor in crashes, contributing to one in four crashes in Minnesota. Preliminary numbers show that distraction was a factor in 16,900 crashes last year, resulting in 7,369 injuries and 47 deaths. More than 86,000 crashes from 2009 – 2013 were distracted driving-related (25 percent of all crashes).

Minnesota’s “No Texting” Law

In Minnesota, it is illegal for drivers to read, compose, or send texts and emails, as well as access the web while the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic. This includes sitting at a stoplight or stopped in traffic. It also is illegal for drivers with a permit or provisional driver’s license to use a cell phone while driving, except for emergencies to call 911.

In 2014 there were 3,200 citations for violating Minnesota’s texting-while-driving law. Injuring or killing a person due to texting-while-driving can result in a felony charge of criminal vehicular operation or homicide.

Make the Right Choice

  • When driving, put your cell phone down, turn it off, or place it out of reach.
  • Before traveling, pre-program radio stations, arrange music, and adjust mirrors and ventilation.
  • Map your destination and enter the GPS route in advance.
  • Avoid messy foods 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.

The enhanced distracted driving enforcement campaign is a component of the Minnesota’s Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) initiative. A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes – education, enforcement, engineering, and emergency trauma response.

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