Texting And Driving, Challenges Of Enforcement

BEMIDJI, Minn. (AP) — While the number of citations given by state troopers for texting and driving has steadily increased in Minnesota, the North Dakota Highway Patrol says enforcing its own recently enacted texting law has been a challenge.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol has issued just two tickets and five warnings statewide in the nearly two months since its state ban on texting and driving took effect. Drivers caught using a wireless communications devise to compose, read or send a message can be fined $100.

Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Jody Skogen says enforcement of the law may remain sporadic as troopers struggle to catch drivers in the act, but educating drivers about the dangers of texting and driving continues to be a priority.

“The law bolsters our stance against the life-threatening act and increases the odds that North Dakota motorists will arrive at their destinations safely,” Skogen said in an email to the Bemidji Pioneer.

The Minnesota State Patrol has been increasing enforcement of a similar law enacted in 2008. After issuing just 18 tickets in the last five months of 2008, troopers issued 137 tickets in 2009, 355 tickets in 2010 and 332 tickets through Aug. 31 of this year, according to Lt. Eric Roeske, patrol spokesman. Troopers also have issued 2,151 warnings.

The penalty for texting and driving in Minnesota is $135, including a $50 base fine, $75 surcharge and $10 law library fee. Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Jesse Grabow said he personally has issued about a dozen tickets and probably twice as many warnings.

Grabow said that since the law was passed, he has become less tolerant when he spots cars swerving, crossing the centerline and making lane changes without signaling. If he suspects texting while driving but can’t prove it, he will still cite drivers for the traffic offenses.

“I really believe it is the new epidemic plaguing our highways,” Grabow said.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • a

    I pulled up next to an applevally cop who was texting he texted for three blocks

    • from j

      When I was 20 yrs old I had a tire blow out on my car an officer pulled over to assist us he was so drunk he had to lean on my car he was reported but nothing ever came of it

      • Dave

        Wow, great comment. Has nothing to do with the story or the comments here. Back to nintendo, meat head.

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    • Real Talk

      When i pull up next to a cop…atleast 50% of the time they are looking at the computer screen in their car. It is the SAME thing as reading a smart phone display.

      I will be the first in-line to admit that texting & driving is a serious concern…but when those charged with up holding the law are themselves violating the spirit, if not the letter of law….it creates some concern with regards to enforcement.

      • Matt

        the law allows police to use texting and computers when they are on duty.

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  • B

    a – Was he in his personal vehicle but dressed in his uniform? If so, I’ve probably seen the same one.

    • a

      He was in a squad car he went in to SA same place I was heading, if coffee and a donut and a tin of chew and in the line of duty I am sure his fellow donut eaters will defend him as he was arresting a glazer!

  • MetroCopper

    Read the statute. 169.475 is the number. Law enforcement officers are exempt from this particular law. As long as they’re in an “authorized emergency vehicle while in performance of official duties,” they can legally compose, receive, and send electronic messages. Do your research before commenting, good citizen.

    • markH

      The spirit of this law is to protect other drivers and pedestrians against bodily harm, resulting from inattentive drivers who are sending, receiving, or reading messages in text form. While the law may be written to include language which exempts emergency workers (foolish in my opinion) they are still violating the spirit of the law which is to protect the public from inattentive and distracted drivers.

      • DeputyDan

        My advice to you is GET OVER IT. You’re simply another bitter citizen posting opinions rather than facts….probably the same person who cries foul and files a complaint when he sees a marked squad traveling over the posted speed limit. You think the law enforcement exemption to this statute is “foolish in your opinion.” Maybe the electronic message an officer receives is the computer dispatch report telling him YOUR house is on fire and he needs to get there to help.

        • markH

          DeputyDan- The only fact I need to cite is that distracted driving (including law enforcement) is a leading cause of motor vehicle accidents and traffic fatalities. Do you have any facts to support your implied assertion that law enforcement officers can drive more effectively than ordinary citizens while distracted? If so, please post them here-otherwise my statements stand.

          “Maybe the electronic message an officer receives is the computer dispatch report telling him YOUR house is on fire and he needs to get there to help.”

          This is a non sequitur; even if this were true it would have no bearing the fact that distracted driving is a leading cause of motor vehicle accidents and highway fatalities. Do you see my point here? The nature of the message being transmitted and read by an emergency worker does NOT mitigate the risks of driving while distracted. What else do you have in your Logic Arsenal? Peace.

        • Real Talk

          Ok Deputy Dipnuts…..and what is the officer going to do for me and my burning house….shoot the flames until they come out and surrender?

          The least you could do is pick a more applicable example for your assinine comments.

          • Fire Marshall Bill

            Good one, moron. The cops are going to get there 20 minutes before my fire rig will. He probably won’t be able to do much with the fire, but he WILL get your and your poor-mouth kids sorry arses safely out of the house. I’m assuming with a comment as ignorant as yours, there’s no chance you have a working fire detector. The guy was just giving a “for instance” to illustrate a point: sometimes officers sending/receiving electronic messages is for the BENEFIT of public safety…which is probably why the law makers made it legal for them to do so.

            • Real Talk

              And all I did was ask that he use a more applicable example for his assinine statement. That comment alone should have been your indicator that i understood this was a “for instance” example. So you coming on here and explaining the obvious is of little benefit or substance.

              So, everytime i see a cop looking down at his screen i am to assume it is because someone’s house is on fire and there are people trapped in there and the cop can get their 20 minutes before your rig and the cop will save the lives of everyone, including the family pet IF ONLY he gets an electronic message WHILE he is driving???? I hope now, you can see who is the moron and who actually has a light on in the attic.

            • Fire Nuts Bill

              Wouldnt a call from dispatch be just as effective as an electronic message. (ie the difference in legality between talking & driving and “texting” & driving)

              Quiet the assumption that the only way to achieve public benefit is to notify officers through electronic messages of impending doom. Wow, and you called the other guy a moron! Honestly kid, what grade are you in?

  • B


    Does this statute extend to personal vehicles? Because the officer I saw was in his personal vehicle IN UNIFORM texting and 70 miles an hour going down I-35E. But alas, no officer is going to ticket a uniformed police officer even if he is BREAKING the law in his personal vehicle. How do I know this? My father was a police officer who just happened to keep his badge right next to his driver’s license so he would never get a ticket for speeding if he was pulled over. Professional courtesy. Right??? Just saying it like it is.

    • MetroCopper

      No it doesn’t extend to personal vehicles. Statute says only authorized emergency vehicles, which includes un-marked squads. And I can’t speak for EVERY officer out there, but the “professional courtesy” thing does go on, like it or not. But hey, Target employees get a 15% discount when they shop in the store too. Perks of the job, I guess.

      • markH

        Whether we “like it or not” has no bearing on the legality of the matter, to say nothing of morality or ethics. Perhaps some police consider themselves above the laws they have sworn to uphold (a fact that confronts us daily on most television stations around the country) and see these violations as minor “perks” to which they are entitled. You may not personally engage in these illegal activities (and make no mistake-they are indeed illegal) but to acknowledge and accept that others in your profession violate the law is a sad testament to the sincerity of your professional oath. I would encourage you to rethink your position and your attitude on this matter. Peace.

        • markH

          My comment was @ MetroCopper.

      • ghj

        Stop that donut he speeding, Quick call metro copper he will put that donut away

      • Abby of Oakdale

        Wow, I truly hope that you are only “posing” as a cop on this site. If I get pulled over for speeding, which has happened, I take responsibility for my actions and never expect a warning. BTW, I have never received a warning, just expensive tickets. If you think getting away with illegal offenses is a “perk” of the job, you are SERIOUSLY in the WRONG profession!!!!!

        • MetroCopper

          @Abby-sorry, dear. I’m the real deal. I was merely responding to B’s comment. He was “saying it like it is” and I was confirming his belief. The whole “professional courtesy” thing is no secret. Obviously we’re on different sides of this argument. So it begs the question: do you think ALL off-duty cops pulled over for various violations should be cited simply because they’re off-duty cops? For the record, I HAVE arrested cops for more serious things like DWI violations, but minor traffic offenses? Never.

          • Abby of Oakdale

            First – I am also sorry that you are the real deal. Second – I am not your DEAR. Third – if you believe this perk is ethical, stand by it – give us your department and badge number. Fourth – I can only respond to your question with this: if you get caught doing something illegal or unethical, MAN UP, no matter who you are!!

            • Real Talk

              Shut up Abby

              Technically crossing the street outside of the crosswalk is an illegal offense. Yet i do not give a damn if a cop lets others cops or citizens out of it without a ticket. In fact, i’d prefer they do. So you see, my dear, it is all relative.

              MetroCopper NEVER advocating using his discretion in a less-than-ethical manner. So chill out and get a grip.

              When you get to the real world Abby..and realize it is more gray than black-n-white…come back and give a real opinion.

            • Matt

              Abby stop being so rude. You are making Oakdale look bad… Maybe you disrespected the cop that pulled you over. Out of all the tickets and warnings I’ve gotten the cop has always lowered the amount. They didn’t have to but they did. We may not agree on the speed limits on the road but you have to pay the price if you do not obey them.

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      • Just saying

        So being a police officer exempts one from obeying the rules of the road in a personal vehicle because it’s a perk of the job? The 15% off at Target is a legal and valid perk. I can’t say the same about the professional courtesy perk. It’s not legal, it’s not ethical, and it breaks the oath a police officer takes to uphold the law. Any wonder so many people don’t respect police officers?

        • MetroCopper

          Actually, it is legal. The law that gives us powers of arrest, etc also gives us the authority to use a little thing called “officer discretion.” Have you ever been stopped for speed and gotten off with warning? Better yet, have you ever exceeded the posted speed limit and NOT been caught? That’s not legal or ethical either. Here’s how I see it personally: In 8 yrs working in the metro area, I’ve given thousands of citizens thousands of warnings for various violations. Did they violate the law? YES. Did I excercise my discretion to warn them, or did I write them a citaion for going 33 in a 30 zone? WARNING. So I think I’ve got the right to warn an off-duty cop too.

          • Just saying

            Spin it any way you want. Police will not ticket another officer unless the offense is extremely egregious. Simply put . . . police allow other police officers to break traffic laws SIMPLY because they are police officers. That’s not discretion; that is preferential treatment. It is NOT ETHICAL even if it is legal. Call a spade a spade.

            • MetroCopper

              Well once again, you’re stating opinions and relying on hearsay. What I’m saying is backed up by fact and state statute. Call it what you want, disgruntled citizen. I think that, by default, if something’s legal, it’s ethically sound as well. But that may be because I have some respect for this country’s institutions and law-making power….just saying

              • Real Talk

                @ Just sayin….there is definitly a fraternity among cops. There always has and always will be. Just like their is a certain fraternity among teachers across the state. It is just a natural result based on similarities in the profession across all jurisdictions.

                @MetroCooper….i’ll just pretend you did not say, “by default, if somethings legal, its ethically sound as well.” For that, you get the dumbest comment of the day award. Go to your nearest liquor store, grab a couple of your favorite porno’s and bottle of Jack…then go back to your desk, drink and oggle until your hearts content……WHAT???….its perfectlly legal and therefor ethically sound right???

                • MetroCopper

                  Lol. I’ll give you that one. I guess I was referring to the comment I was responding to at the time, not necessarily EVERY situation…

        • Like it or lump it

          He didn’t say anything about cops being exempt from obeying the rules of the road. Quit crying. MetroCopper is, at least, stating facts. You’re crying because you disagree. Don’t like it? Call your representative.

  • just sayin

    Come on folks… the answer is simple. Just don’t get caught!

    Or you can use an App called “vlingo”.

    Soon enough most phones will voice text.

  • Me

    Never believe a police officer, ever.

    • citizen

      “To protect and serve”…themselves



  • copseatdonuts

    Start your car and the Phone dont work….any idiot could figure that out….except the idiots in the city

    • Thor

      sounds good to me

  • http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2011/09/26/texting-and-driving-challenges-of-enforcement-2/ Texting And Driving, Challenges Of Enforcement « CBS Minnesota

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