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Lawmakers Seek To Ban Cell Phone Use In Construction Zones

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesota drivers using cell phones are distracted, and sometimes deadly.

Craig Carlson and Ron Rajkowski were killed in 2011 by a distracted driver who was traveling at a high speed while in a construction zone.

Carlson’s widow, Deb Carlson of Ramsey, says her husband was killed in an instant.

“[The] car that was traveling at 70 miles per hour,” Carlson said.

The Missouri driver told police he veered too close to a retaining wall and overcorrected.

Minnesota lawmakers are now considering a ban on cell phone use in road construction zones where workers are present. Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL – Minneapolis) says distracted driving is the most underestimated danger on the road.

“This is the equivalent of driving drunk. You’re on a cell phone and you’re driving, you’re at .08 (blood-alcohol level),” Hornstein said.

Police say cell phones are not the only problem. Dialing, texting and even eating behind the wheel are all major distractions.

Ron Rajkowski’s widow, Jodi Rajkowski of St. Joseph, says she’s still trying to make sense of what happened.

“My son’s daddy has not there to celebrate birthdays, first communions, Father’s Day, holidays or any other of the countless milestones that have passed during the last two and a half years,” Rajkowski said.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety reports there have been about 26,000 work-zone crashes in the last five years.

During that time, there have been 4,000 injuries and 41 deaths.

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