Officers cite more than 5,000 drivers for distracted driving in April campaign

Published 3:09 pm Friday, May 10, 2024

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Law enforcement officers across Minnesota issued 5,380 citations for hands-free cell phone violations during a month-long distracted driving enforcement campaign in April.

That’s nearly 2,000 more citations handed out than during last year’s campaign.

Here are some statistics about the enforcement period:

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• 5,380 citations for hands-free cell phone violations were given out. This is up by almost 2,000 from 2023.

• 278 Minnesota agencies participated.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety coordinates the statewide campaign with funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It includes advertising in support of the Toward Zero Deaths traffic safety program.

“The number of citations issued is disturbing, unacceptable and extremely frustrating,” said Mike Hanson, OTS director. “Getting distracted behind the wheel for even a couple seconds can end with someone being seriously hurt or killed. What if that someone was your loved one? Put distractions away and make the roads safer for everyone.”

Examples of distracted driving stops from law enforcement:

  • The Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office worked with crossing guards in school zones and issued five cell phone use citations.
  • A Pipestone County sheriff’s deputy stopped three drivers in a row for hands-free violations. The first driver posted on a social media community page about being stopped. Even though he wasn’t happy about being pulled over, it helped promote the extra enforcement.
  • St. Paul police stopped two drivers twice in one day for distracted driving. Another driver was cited for a hands-free violation three days after receiving a citation for the same offense in the same area.
  • The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office stopped a driver who admitted to texting his mom while driving. A deputy also stopped another driver for checking her bank account while behind the wheel.