MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minnesota Department of Public Safety announced Thursday it’s cracking down on distracted driving across the state with a 10-day campaign that will launch Friday.
DPS officials said more than 400 state agencies are adding extra patrols for the campaign. Authorities said from 2009-13, there were more than 86,000 crashes that could be attributed to distracted driving in some form. That number amounts to about 25 percent of all crashes over that five-year span.
According to DPS statistics, there’s about 60 fatality and 8,000 injury crashes every year that can be linked to distracted driving. Officials said citations for texting while driving have gone up every year since Minnesota’s “No Texting” law went into effect in 2009.
That year, there were 388 citations. In 2013, there were 2,189 citations.
Officials said texting while driving is the biggest culprit, but it’s not the only form of distracted driving. It includes everything from eating and doing make-up while driving to something as simple as switching the radio station.
“You’re not focused on the road whether you’re texting, talking, eating, selecting music or simply day-dreaming. You’re pulling your focus away from the important and critical task of driving,” said Eric Roeske with the Minnesota State Patrol.