More than 300 law enforcement agencies are taking part in a statewide crackdown on distracted driving.
The push to catch distracted drivers runs through April 22, with extra enforcement expected on Minnesota roads.
Why are they doing this?
Because distracted driving is extremely dangerous and thanks to the proliferation of smartphones a serious, growing problem in Minnesota.
Here's a look at texting-while-driving citations for the past five years.
- 2012 — 1,707
- 2013 — 2,177
- 2014 — 3,498
- 2015 — 4,115
- 2016 — 5,988
- 2017 — 7,357
And for every citation handed out, there are probably many more drivers getting away with it.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says that distracted driving contributes to one in every five crashes in Minnesota – and between 2012 and 2016 caused on average 59 deaths and 223 serious injuries a year.
"When a crash occurs in Minnesota, the driver behavior that law enforcement agencies cite most often as a contributing factor is inattention or distraction," it adds.
The annual campaign has usually resulted in a lot of texting and driving citations.
In 2017, of the 7,357 texting and driving citations given out in the state, just over 1,000 over them came in the 2-week crackdown last April.
Drivers are advised to leave their phones untouched or turned off, while having radio stations preset and GPS coordinates inputted before leaving.