The State Patrol and hundreds of local law enforcement agencies throughout Minnesota are launching a statewide crackdown on distracted driving. Extra officers will be on patrol through April 20th and will be targeting motorists engaged in distracting activities, particularly texting while driving. Officials say distracted driving has been blamed on over 86,000 crashes during the previous five years, which is about 25% of all traffic crashes in the state. Last year, inattentive driving was listed as a contributing factor in over 17,500 crashes that resulted in 68 deaths and over 8000 injuries.

“It’s a myth to think we can multitask behind the wheel,” said Donna Berger, DPS Office of Traffic Safety director. “The reality is distractions take our attention away from the important task of driving. It is up to every driver to eliminate distractions and share the road safely and responsibly.”

Minnesota enacted a law banning “texting while driving” over five years ago and nearly 2200 motorists were cited for violating the law last year.