Crackdown planned on motorists who text and drive

2:30 PM, Apr 17, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - It's never a good idea to text and drive, but the practice will be especially frowned on Thursday, April 18.

That's when officers from Minneapolis and a handful of metro police departments will conduct stepped-up enforcement on drivers who are texting or illegally using their cell phones behind the wheel.

Departments involved in the extra enforcement include Minneapolis, Golden Valley , Crystal, New Hope , Robbinsdale, Hopkins, and University of Minnesota Police.

The aim is to highlight the issue during prom and graduation season. In the last three years distracted teen drivers have been involved in crashes that resulted in 25 deaths and 4,505 injuries.

"Your focus behind the wheel is far more important than the text message you are sending or reading behind the wheel," says Sgt. Rich Lee. "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 Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety says driver distraction is a leading crash factor in Minnesota, accounting for around 20 percent of all crashes annually, and resulting in at least 70 deaths and 350 injuries.

Minneapolis Police spokesman Sgt. William Palmer reminds motorists that it is illegal for drivers to read, compose or send texts/emails, and access the Web on a wireless device while the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic.

It is also illegal for drivers under age 18 to use a cell phone at any time.

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