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Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, a national observance that provides the opportunity to focus on the leading cause of work-related death: traffic crashes. In Minnesota, driver inattention or distraction is a leading factor in crashes, and nearly 300 law enforcement agencies statewide will conduct extra enforcement April 10 to 23 in an effort to reduce it.

This extra enforcement in Minnesota is part of a nationwide effort that will use a combination of traditional and innovative strategies, including a national advertising campaign, to raise awareness and crack down on motorists who text and drive. In 2015, distracted driving killed 3,477 people and injured an additional 391,000 in collisions involving distracted drivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. In Minnesota, one in four crashes can be linked to distracted driving.

Distracted or inattentive driving is when a driver engages in any activity that might distract them from the primary task of driving — and increases their risk of crashing. This includes texting, scrolling through a playlist, looking for directions on a device or a map – anything that takes the driver's focus off driving. In Minnesota, it is illegal for drivers to read/compose/send text messages and emails, or access the Internet using a wireless device while the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic —including when stopped in traffic or at a traffic light.

Learn more about distracted driving and take steps to ensure you are an engaged and safe driver. Visit the national Distraction.gov website and Minnesota Department of Public Safety's distracted driving information page. You, your friends, families and coworkers can even complete an online attentive driver pledge by visiting the National Safety Council's Take Back Your Drive webpage.