In April, 5,000 drivers cited in Minnesota for distracted driving

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, law enforcement officers issued 5,380 citations for hands-free cell phone violations in April. It was all part of a month-long distracted driving enforcement campaign, that State officials say brought nearly 2,000 more citations than last year’s campaign.

“The number of citations issued is disturbing, unacceptable and extremely frustrating,” Mike Hanson, OTS director said in a release. “Getting distracted behind the wheel for even a couple seconds can end with someone being seriously hurt or killed. What if that someone was your loved one? Put distractions away and make the roads safer for everyone.”

The hands-free cell phone law was passed in 2019, making it against the law for drivers to hold a cell phone in their hand while driving.

Here is a breakdown of the results from the OTS for April 1-30


  • 5,380 citations for hands-free cell phone violations.
  • 278 Minnesota agencies participated.


  • 3,427 citations for hands-free cell phone violations.
  • 275 Minnesota agencies participated.

According to the Minnesota DPS, preliminary figures show that distracted driving contributed to one in 11 crashes from 2019-2023. Officials say it contributed to an average of 29 deaths and 146 life-changing injuries a year from 2019-2023.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) broke down the numbers for greater Minnesota.

  • Minnesota State Patrol – Virginia region: 387
  • Minnesota State Patrol – St. Cloud region: 168
  • Minnesota State Patrol – Rochester region: 166
  • Minnesota State Patrol – Duluth region: 134
  • Minnesota State Patrol – Detroit Lakes region: 109
  • Minnesota State Patrol – Mankato region: 81
  • Mankato Department of Public Safety Police: 71
  • Minnesota State Patrol – Brainerd region: 71
  • New Ulm Police Department: 64

In the Twin Cities Metro area, the most citations were given by the St. Paul Police Department with 951.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) coordinates the statewide campaign with funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It includes advertising in support of the Toward Zero Deaths traffic safety program.

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