Distracted driving to become focus on Thursday

Ever since Glenn Monson was hit and severely injured by a distracted driver, he has paid more attention to the road.

But Monson is one of just many advocates and leaders who are raising awareness for Distracted Driving Day, which will be this Thursday with extra distracted driving enforcement by the Minnesota State Patrol, along with local campaigns.

“Any of us can be a victim,” said Monson, the local pastor at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church who was struck by a distracted driver east of Austin about 10 years ago.

“I was going out on Highway 56 toward Rose Creek,” Monson added. “As I passed County 3, another person in a car going West on County 3, who was distracted, just flew through the stop sign and sent me flying. I was injured very severely, but thankfully, I completely recovered.”

Like the driver who hit him, Monson has been distracted while driving, too. So he and local organizations are supporting a cause started by Mower Refreshed. It’s called Drive Refreshed, and Towards Zero Death, Austin Area Drug Task Force, Parenting Resource Center and the Riverland Community College Nursing students all support the campaign. They want to reduce both the number of citations and accidents on roadways. Mower Refreshed will directly reach out to schools and driving programs, as well, and distribute keychains that encourage people to “Take five and be present behind the wheel,” reminding them to focus on only driving before they get in their cars.

The Minnesota State Patrol recognizes actions such as reaching for items, fiddling with radio controls, eating, drinking, daydreaming, dealing with rowdy passengers, talking on phones and other actions as distracted driving.

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