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MN State Patrol Spreads Awareness as Part of Distracted Driving Campaign

Taylor Holt
Updated: April 08, 2019 10:39 PM

Whether it's changing the radio station or sending a text behind the wheel, those simple acts can cost a life. 

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 "On the road, you see things you probably shouldn't see like, folks on the phone, or eating," said Neal Nehring, a motorist from the Twin Cities.

"Lots of teenagers today are on their phones and sometimes are on their phone when they are driving," said Andrew Amberg, an 18-year from Twin Valley, Minnesota.

It's a disturbing trend many can say they see on a daily basis, and a trend Minnesota law enforcement agencies say claim an average of 45 lives each year. Sunny Resnick is a student who says he has witnessed near crashes due to distracted drivers.

"I was driving, towards a four-way stop and I stopped and the other driver drove straight through the stop sign and you could see them on their phone," said Resnick.

These are all reasons why once again Minnesota agencies are stepping up by putting more enforcement on the roads. It's part of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's distracted driving campaign. 

"I think it's a great idea," said Nehring. "It's becoming more of an issue and they need to crack down."

"It's super important. Every year, you hear about high school kids that pass away," said Resnick. 

On Monday,, Cromwell High School students heard one of those touching stories during a presentation by Sgt. Neil Dickenson with Minnesota State Patrol.

"We just want to remind everybody to put the phones away," said Dickenson.

He says texting remains the biggest problem continuing a trend. In 2013, texting citations in Minnesota were just over 2,000. Last year, they jumped to more than 9,000. 

However, Dickenson says the road distractions go beyond that.

"For instance, eating in a car, even though it's not illegal, it's not a good idea. Another example is adjusting the radio," he said.

In Minnesota it is illegal for drivers to read or send texts and emails and access the web while the driving. In Minnesota, distracted driving contributes to one of five crashes. According to State Patrol, they've already had 69 crashes this year.

Dickenson says he believes it can be stopped but it will take education as prevention.

"Be a defensive driver, that's what we talk about. See the big picture, and see issues or violations before they affect you," he said. 

The campaign runs through April 30th. 

Credits

Taylor Holt

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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