This past April, more than 300 agencies including the Owatonna Police Department, Steele County Sheriff's office and Blooming Prairie Police Departments took part in an extra enforcement campaign. The goal being to crack down on distracted driving. The numbers have been compiled and released.

Officers handed out 1,017 citations in the state for texting while driving. There also were 1,517 seat belt violations. This is an increase from 972 tickets during the seven-day extra enforcement campaign last year.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety in a press release offered the following figures showing the increase in texting and driving citations across Minnesota.

  • 2012: 1,707
  • 2013: 2,177
  • 2014: 3,498
  • 2015: 4,115
  • 2016: 5,988

The department pointed out that in 2015, distracted driving contributed to 7,666 injuries and 74 deaths.

Among some of the more interesting observations by officers taking part in the distracted driving campaign include a driver who failed to stop for a pedestrian because the driver was distracted by a chicken riding on his lap. A trooper near Eveleth reported pulling over one driver who was shopping for cars on his phone while driving.

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