ROCHESTER, Minn. – A two-week effort to crack down on distracted driving started Monday in Minnesota.
More than 300 law enforcement agencies across the state, including the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office and the Rochester Police Department, will be conducting an enhanced traffic enforcement effort through June 14. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says distracted driving-related crashes kill an average of 46 people in the state every year.
“Getting ready to leave a few minutes earlier can help you avoid many distractions that take place in the car,” said Toward Zero Deaths coordinator Michelle Ness. “Giving yourself more time helps you get ready at home, not in the car. It allows you to eat and not risk dropping food on your lap, which could take your eyes off the road. It allows you to set your radio, streaming music or GPS before you start driving. You get the picture. All these activities behind the wheel are behaviors that could lead to a crash. You don’t want to be that person who takes another life or your own. Drive smart by always paying attention behind the wheel.”
Authorities say more than 50,000 crashes were distracted driving-related from 2015-2019, contributing to one in seven crashes in Minnesota. In 2019, distracted driving contributed to 3,279 injuries and 32 deaths.