MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The State Patrol is encouraging drivers to put away phones and other distractions after a video taken over the weekend shows a motorist nearly get hit head-on by a suspected distracted driver.
Via social media, the State Patrol released dash cam footage of the near-miss, which occurred Saturday morning on Highway 63 between Rochester and Millville.
The five-second video shows an SUV cross the two-lane highway’s center line and drift into on-coming traffic.Because the driver with the dash cam was paying attention, they were able to avoid a potentially “horrific” crash, the State Patrol says.
Earlier this year, law enforcement across Minnesota handed out more than 1,000 distracted driving citations over a two-week enhanced enforcement period.
Many of the drivers stopped were on Snapchat, the State Patrol says. One man was distracted by picking his fantasy NBA draft, another was preoccupied by a chicken on his lap.
In 2015, nearly 8,000 people were hurt in Minnesota by crashes caused by distracted drivers. Seventy-four were killed.
Minnesota has a “no texting law,” which makes it illegal to text, email or access the internet while a car is in motion or part of traffic, including while stopped at red lights.
Drivers face a $50 fine (plus court fees) for their first offence. For any additional offences, the fine jumps to a $275.