Drivers should know by now that holding and using a phone while behind the wheel is not only distracting, it’s illegal in Minnesota and could lead to a crash. Drivers also need to understand that there are distractions all around them beyond their phones. While distractions such as eating, checking your makeup, turning around to talk to a child or turning the radio channel are not illegal, they are behaviors that could also lead to a crash.
Driving smart and focusing 100 percent of your attention on the road can help avoid tragedy for everyone sharing the road. Distracted driving-related crashes claim an average of 46 lives each year, causing a lifetime of grief and pain for the families left behind and an untold story of what could have been.
To help increase awareness and change dangerous behaviors, Mower County law enforcement will join more than 300 agencies across the state to crack down on distracted driving. The campaign that runs through June 14 is coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS).
Hands-free cell phone use became law on Aug. 1, 2019 in Minnesota. That means drivers can no longer hold their phone in their hand. Accessing or posting on social media, streaming videos, checking that box score or Googling information on a device while driving are all still against the law in Minnesota, even in hands-free mode.
During the first seven months of the hands-free law, 13,830 drivers were cited for failing to comply with the law.