Period of distracted driving enforcement starting today

Published 9:03 am Monday, April 9, 2018

Law enforcement across the state will be cracking down harder on distracted drivers today through April 22 as part of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety’s “Enough is Enough” distracted driving campaign.

Austin police officers and Mower County deputies will be working a total of 24 hours of overtime as part of the enforcement period. The overtime will be paid for by a Toward Zero Deaths grant provided to law enforcement throughout Minnesota by the DPS.

“The biggest violations we see are drivers that are on their mobile devices, cell phones, and other things,” said Austin Police Capt. David McKichan. “It is illegal and highly dangerous to use those things while driving.”

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Last year, over 7,000 citations were issued for texting alone. Over 1,000 of those were issued during the enforcement periods.

Almost 300 people were killed while texting and driving in Minnesota between 2012 and 2016.

Distracted driving, however, is not just caused by cell phone use. Eating, drinking, adjusting music and navigation, even conversations with a passenger can lead to distracted driving.

“We have seen an uptick in accidents and other incidents caused by distractions,” McKichan said. “Doing things that take you away from the actual act of driving can be very dangerous and you can get a citation for it.”