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Snapchatting, texting, holding a chicken – actual distracted driving stories

People do some crazy things while behind the wheel.

It's probably best not to shop for a car while you're driving one.

Apparently that happened last month during a crackdown on distracted driving from Minnesota law enforcement. It's one of the many crazy stories reported by officers during the two-week enforcement campaign.

Others were stopped for Snapchatting or texting, and one guy got pulled over for failing to stop for a pedestrian – he told police he was distracted by the chicken he was holding on his lap, a news release says. (You can read more horror stories from the campaign here and here.)

From April 10-23, officials handed out 1,017 tickets to drivers for texting while driving (you can see a breakdown of where people got tickets here), and 1,517 tickets for people who weren't wearing their seatbelt.

That may seem like a lot of tickets, but it's an improvement over last year. During the agency's distracted driving crackdown in 2016 – which lasted just seven days – there were 972 tickets handed out.

Donna Berger, the director of the agency's Office of Traffic Safety, says the decline in tickets show "some people are getting the message" but notes that "one person distracted on the road is one too many."

Over the years, distracted driving has gotten a lot worse in Minnesota. In 2016, officials handed out a total of 5,988 texting and driving tickets – that's a 251 percent increase from five years before, when there were 1,707 texting and driving citations issued.

Safety officials say when a crash happens, law enforcement officials cite distracted driving as a contributing factor more often than any other driver behavior.

Put your phone down – it's the law

It's illegal for anyone driving a car to read, compose or send texts and emails, or go online while the vehicle is part of traffic – that includes when you're sitting at a red light.

If you're cited for using your phone while driving, you'll be fined $50. If you violate the law again, it's $275 – and that doesn't include court fees.

Minnesota has banned texting while driving since 2008, and there's been an effort this legislative session to go even further and ban using your phone while behind the wheel unless it's in hands-free mode.

The proposals haven't been heard on the Minnesota House or Senate floor though, with FOX 9 reporting in March the Senate proposal was attached to an omnibus bill that could be voted on before the session ends on May 22.

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