Editorial: Eliminate your distractions while driving

Published 7:49 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2018

In today’s 24/7 world of social media, instant communications and busy schedules, it’s not uncommon for people to take their worries and distractions with them on the road.

Whether it’s looking up the score from a sporting game, texting a message to a friend, eating and driving, or responding to other passengers, there are many things that can take our attention away from the road. Even things like daydreaming, reaching for items in the car and changing music can cause you to lose focus on the road.

Through April 22, law enforcement officers around the state — including Albert Lea officers and Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office deputies — will be enforcing these behaviors that distract people while driving. It’s a good time for us all to take a few moments to refocus our minds on the road.

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Each year in Minnesota, distracted or inattentive driving is a factor in one in four crashes, resulting in at least 70 deaths and 350 serious injuries, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

One of those behaviors in particular — texting — is on the rise, according to law enforcement officials. According to the Albert Lea Police Department, citations for it were up statewide nearly 23 percent from 2016 to 2017.

Keeping these statistics in mind, we encourage all motorists to recognize the distractions that you may fall prey to while driving. Not only can these distractions put your own life in jeopardy, but they can also put the lives of your loved ones and friends riding with you at risk, along with others you may interact on the road.

Don’t risk it.