Distracted driving campaign begins across state

Published 9:43 am Monday, April 13, 2015

By Albert Lea Tribune

More than 300 law enforcement agencies across the state, including the Minnesota State Patrol, will crack down on distracted drivers starting today in an extra enforcement.

The distracted driving campaign runs through Saturday, according to a news release from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

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The release stated distracted driving contributes to one in four crashes, 64 deaths and 234 serious injuries each year.

In 2014, that equated to 16,900 crashes where distraction played a factor. More than 86,000 crashes were related to distracted driving from 2009 to 2013.

At 55 mph, texting and driving is like traveling the length of a football field without looking up.

“If you are a passenger in a vehicle with a distracted driver, speak up,” the release stated. “Speak up. Tell them to put the phone down before it’s too late.”

Distracted driving can involve more than just cell phones.

The release offered the followoing tips.

Put cellphones away, turn off or place out of reach.

For music and other controls, have stations pre-programmed and have music arranged in an easy-to-access spot. Adjust mirrors and ventiliation before traveling.

Map out destinations in advance.

Avoid messy foods and secure drinks.

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

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