In the age of the smartphone, distracted driving has increasingly become a major cause of crashes. And judging by a series of tweets posted by the Minnesota State Patrol this week, it's not hard to see why.
The State Patrol shared several instances of flagrant smartphone use by drivers on Minnesota's major roads in a series of posts linked by the hashtag #JustDrive.
It comes amid a wider crackdown on distracted driving that more than 300 law enforcement agencies are prioritizing between now and the end of the month.
So what is it that simply cannot wait until drivers have reached their destination?
Take your pick: Snapchat, emailing, video streaming, online shopping – even checking a child's hockey schedule.
Here's a look at some of the worst offenders of the past week:
– A driver not wearing a seatbelt was watching Law & Order when he was pulled over, receiving 2 citations as a result.
– A 29-year-old man in Otter Tail County admitted watching videos and using his phone on Hwy. 88.
– A 42-year-old semi driver on I-94 near Pelican Rapids was spotted weaving across the interstate. He said he was using his phone for texting and internet access.
– A man driving on I-94 at Huron changed lanes without signaling – he was sending an email.
– A 41-year-old woman stopped on Hwy. 65 admitted looking up her child's hockey schedule while at a stoplight – while her child was in the car.
– A commercial vehicle on I-94 near Fergus Falls was stopped and the 25-year-old driver said he was shopping on Amazon.
– An 18-year-old man stopped on Hwy. 252 was looking for an address on his phone while at a stoplight.
– A 21-year-old driver on I-94, again near Fergus Falls, was spotted weaving. They were using Snapchat.
– A 34-year-old father was texting to arrange a babysitter while his 2 small children were in the back seats.
On Aug. 1, it will become illegal to use your cellphone behind the wheel in all circumstances except emergencies and in hands-free/voice-activated mode.
It's already an offense to text or use the internet on your phone while driving, but the new law will also make it illegal to take or make calls.