Speak up: distracted driving changes lives Extra enforcement on MN roads April 13-18


A young mother of two is killed while on a bike ride with her kids by a man distracted by his cell phone. A mother of a toddler who was seriously injured when a teen driver was reading a text said, “One text almost killed my son.” 
These Minnesotans’ lives were changed forever by a distracted driver, and starting Monday, law enforcement will be looking to catch drivers who are focused more on their phones than on the road. The extra enforcement runs April 13 to 18.
Speak Up
Distracted driving is a leading factor in crashes each year in Minnesota. Law enforcement is the last line of defense when it comes to distracted driving and officers encourage anyone riding with a distracted driver to speak up.
Eyes off the Road Equals Crash behind the Wheel
• At 55 miles per hour, texting and driving is like traveling the length of a football field without looking up.
• The result of distracted driving can be devastating as it contributes to one in four crashes, 64 deaths and 234 serious injuries each year. 
• Preliminary numbers show that distraction was a factor in 16,900 crashes in 2014, resulting in 56 deaths and 165 serious injuries.
The Law in Minnesota
In Minnesota, it is illegal for drivers to read, compose or send texts and emails, and access the web while the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic. That includes sitting at a stoplight or stop sign. It is also illegal for drivers with a permit or provisional driver’s license to use a cell phone while driving, except for emergencies to call 911. 
Make the Right Choice
• Cell phones – Put the phone down, turn it off or place it out of reach. 
• Music and other controls – Pre-program radio stations and arrange music in an easy-to-access spot. Adjust mirrors and ventilation before traveling.
• Navigation – Map out the destination and enter the GPS route in advance.
• Eating and drinking – Avoid messy foods and secure drinks. 
• Children – Teach children the importance of good behavior in a vehicle and model proper driving behavior. 
• Passengers – Speak up to stop drivers from distracted driving behavior and offer to help with anything that takes the driver’s attention off the road.