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10-day sting nets 550 drivers for texting while driving

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Public safety officials are warning motorists to practice safe driving habits and avoid texting while driving.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety issued hundreds of citations to drivers for distracted driving in a recent sting, which began Friday, April 11, and continued through Sunday, April 20.

DPS also cited 1,394 people for seatbelt violations and 15 people were arrested for DWI, KSTP reports.

More than two dozen citations were also issued to drivers for not using child restraints.

“The number of citations made in just those 10 days shows that far too many drivers still make poor choices behind the wheel,” says Donna Berger, Office of Transportation Safety director. “Law enforcement officers across the state will continue to enforce distracted driving laws. Drivers can and will be ticketed at any time for texting while driving, not just during an enhanced enforcement campaign.”

It is illegal in Minnesota for drivers to read, compose or send texts and emails, as well as access the web on a wireless device when the vehicle is in motion — or part of traffic. That also includes stopping at stop lights or stop signs, or while waiting in stopped traffic. It is also illegal for drivers under the age of 18 to use a cell phone at any time, WCCO reports. 

“Law enforcement officers across the state will continue to enforce distracted driving laws,” Donna Berger, OTS director, said in a press release. “Drivers can and will be ticketed at any time for texting while driving, not just during an enhanced enforcement campaign.”

According to the department’s Office of Traffic Safety, more than 86,000 crashes were attributed to distracted driving from 2009-2013 — that amounts to 25 percent of all crashes in those five years, WCCO reports.

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