EDINA, Minn. (WCCO) — Smashed glass, twisted metal and one tire that’s barely hanging on.

Looking at what used to be an Edina Police Department squad car, it’s easy to see the destruction distracted driving can leave behind.

(credit: CBS)

Just before 3 a.m. Wednesday, an officer was parked on the shoulder of Highway 169 in Edina when a 29-year-old woman slammed into the side of his patrol car.

“At the time, she had been reaching for a cell phone and took her eyes off the road and that’s where she landed,” said Sgt. Aaron White.

No alcohol or drugs were involved in the crash, just a cellphone.

“The reality is everyone should look at this and say, ‘This is personal.’ It could be you, pulled over with a flat tire. It could be you just driving and this person is next to you,” said White.

Right now it is illegal to text and drive, but there is no hands-free legislation in Minnesota.

After months of lobbying and impassioned pleas from family members, the proposal was killed before lawmakers could vote on it this year.

For now, police must enforce the laws they can, however difficult that may be.

“There are cases where you can clearly see someone is typing, but you go to kind of sneak up on them and you got to be at the right place at the right time,” said White.

Fortunately, both the driver and the officer involved in this crash were wearing their seat belts.

They were taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries. The woman involved was ticketed for careless driving.

Mary McGuire

  1. Texting is not just a “teen” problem. There are millions of employees in company cars and fleet vehicles who try to “multi-task” behind the wheel.

    While Minnesota may seek to lower distracted driving by increasing penalties, fees and regulations, there is another option. There are anti-texting apps, like AT&T DriveMode which is FREE!

    One area that is rarely discussed is that Minnesota has thousands of government vehicles that inspectors, regulators and the agricultural department use as fleet vehicles, but they do not have the technology to diminish distracted driving. I would love to see one state lead by example and use a program, like FleetMode, to block texts, redirect incoming phone calls, and impede all other apps in the State vehicles. If we want our state roads to be safer, let’s start by making our state vehicles safer.

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