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St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News)  - The Minnesota State Patrol and hundreds of local law enforcement agencies throughout the state are participating in a month-long crackdown on distracted driving.

The enforcement campaign began today and will run through the end of April. State troopers, Sheriff's Deputies, and Police Officers in communities across Minnesota will be conducting extra patrols with the focus on finding motorists violating the state's hands-free cell phone law or participating in other distracting behaviors.

State Patrol photo (twitter)
State Patrol photo (twitter)

“We all lead busy lives and think we can multitask, but behind the wheel of the car is not the place to do that,” said OTS Director Mike Hanson. “You may not think a quick glance down at your phone or radio will do any harm, but that simple distraction can seriously injure or kill someone in an instant.”

The Office of Traffic Safety within the Minnesota Department of Public Safety says statistics show distracted driving contributed to one in 11 crashes in the state from 2018 through last year. That works out to more than 32,000 distracted driving-related crashes. Those crashes contributed to 126 injuries and 22 deaths last year. Since 2018, distracted driving has been listed as a contributing factor in 144 traffic fatalities.

Minnesota's hands-free cell phone law has been in effect since August 2019. A violation carries a $100 fine plus court fees for a first offense, which increases to $300 plus court fees for additional offenses.

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