MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In the midst of prom and graduation season, police in the Twin Cities area will conduct extra enforcement Thursday in effort to reduce distracted driving – especially texting while driving.

In the last three years, distracted teen drivers were involved in crashes that resulted in 25 deaths and 4,505 injuries. Overall, distracted driving is a leading crash factor in Minnesota and accounts for around 20 percent of crashes annually.

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Police are emphasizing that texting while driving is not only illegal, it’s unsafe.

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“Your focus behind the wheel is far more important than the text message you are sending or reading behind the wheel,” Minneapolis Police Sgt. Rich Lee said. “Drivers need to make a serious effort to recognize and limit dangerous and unnecessary distractions, and passengers need speak up to stop and prevent drivers from texting.”

The Minneapolis Police Department is working in conjunction with Golden Valley, Crystal, New Hope, Robbinsdale, Hopkins and University of Minnesota Police Departments to carry out the increased enforcement.

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For more information on distracted driving, visit the Toward Zero Deaths website, which is Minnesota’s core traffic safety initiative.