Expect Extra Distracted Driving Enforcement Throughout April in Minnesota
As they have done in previous years, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety is teaming with law enforcement to crack down on distracted drivers on Minnesota roads. There will be extra enforcement of the Hands-Free Law throughout the month of April.
According to DriveSmartMN.org, distracted driving contributes to an average of 46 deaths and 209 life-changing injuries a year in Minnesota alone. The bottom line is that distracted driving increases the chance of a crash.
The hands-free cell phone law took effect in Minnesota on August 1, 2019. It states that you can not hold a cell phone while driving. An easy rule to remember is that when you're not in "Park", you need to park your phone.
Those in violation of the law face a fine of more than $120 for the first offense, while the penalty for a second offense is more than $300.
There are three common types of distractions:
- Visual - eyes are off the road
- Manual - hands are off the steering wheel
- Cognitive - mind is elsewhere
It's important to note that texting involves all three distractions, so the chance of a crash increases by 23 times for people who text while driving.
Other common driving distractions include:
- Talking on a cell phone
- Adjusting music and other controls
- Using a navigation system
- Eating while driving
- Interruption by passengers
Law enforcement will focus on those things throughout April, hoping that it will encourage people to stop putting themselves and others at risk. The Duluth Poice Department announced they will be joining the campaign.
Experts say the best way to go hands-free is by turning off your phone and placing it in your purse/bag, trunk, center console, or glove compartment.
If you must have your phone available, placing your cell on a mount is a recommended option. If placing it on the windshield, it must be mounted at the bottommost portion of the windshield.
You are also allowed to place your phone on the passenger seat, in the cup holder, or in other locations in the vehicle as long as you are not holding the phone. However, those locations are not as secure and if your phone were to fall, it may lead to a distracted driving occurrence.