Skip to main content

Texting while driving citations jumped 30 percent in Minnesota last year

More than 9,500 tickets were issued in 2018.

A worrying rise in texting behind the wheel saw more than 9,500 drivers issued tickets in Minnesota last year.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says that 9,545 tickets were handed out to drivers for texting last year, compared to 7,357 in 2017.

That represents a 30 percent jump from the year before, and a massive 459 percent increase from 2012, when just 1,707 tickets were handed out.

Already this year, the DPS says two people have been killed in distracted-driving related crashes, one of which involved the use of a cellphone.

In 2018, there were 27 distraction-related fatal crashes, up from 25 a year before.

Just a reminder that it's illegal for drivers to read or send text messages, or access the internet, while they're driving a vehicle that's part of traffic – including at a stoplight or stop sign.

There have also been moves this week to make it similarly illegal to make or take a phone call while behind the wheel, with a bill to ban cellphone use unless it's voice-activated or hands-free being submitted in the Minnesota Legislature.

Sign up: Subscribe to our daily newsletters

A texting-while-driving citation lands you a $50 fine plus court fees for a first offense, and $275 plus court fees for a subsequent offense.

"We shouldn’t need laws to encourage drivers to pay attention to the road,” said Mike Hanson, director of the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety.

"The citation data is further evidence that much more needs to be done to change our driving culture. That’s why the Department of Public Safety supports laws that make our roads safer, including legislation for hands-free cell phone use behind the wheel."

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-09-28 at 3.36.57 PM

Scott County attorney candidates differ on marijuana possession

Scott County is one of a few Minnesota counties where the incumbent prosecutor is facing a challenger in November.

Screen Shot 2022-09-23 at 10.21.38 PM

Teen charged in shooting outside of Richfield football game

Due to the age of the suspect, the case won't be made public.

Screen Shot 2020-02-06 at 9.05.08 AM

Twin Cities Summer Jam no more: popular festival brought to an end

The festival noted how the land they host camping on has recently been sold.


Expect major traffic delays on Renaissance Festival's final weekend

Scott County officials said road closures will be to blame.

Voting survey vote election

Ramsey County sends out ballots with deceased candidate on it

The county said it's addressing the issue with the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Screen Shot 2022-09-28 at 12.30.28 PM

New haunted house experience coming to Inver Grove Heights

The exhibit will feature family-friendly and 18+ events.

Wayzata High School

Niche rankings identify best Minnesota schools, districts

Eden Prairie has schools ranked in both the private and public categories.


Walker, The Current announce end of Rock the Garden festival

The Walker Art Center and Minnesota Public Radio announced the festival will retire so the organizations can dream up new events.


Talking on the phone while driving could be banned in MN

A bill to limit cellphone use at the wheel to hands-free devices has taken the first step.

Hey Minnesota, stop texting while driving

Tickets for texting while driving have surged every year since 2012.

Citations surged in latest texting and driving crackdown

One motorist drove with his knees while texting with both hands...

'Hands free' phone bill passes House, expected to become law this week

A compromise bill passed the Minnesota House on Tuesday.