New Minnesota roads campaign: 'Orange cones. No phones.'


Minnesota safety officials are launching another campaign that targets motorists who text/talk on their phones in work zones.

The effort includes new signs and radio spots with the message: "Orange cones. No phones."

The campaign, which started on the East Coast in 2009, is scheduled to start Monday in Minnesota and run through construction season, the Associated Press reports.

The effort is part of Minnesota's broader "Toward Zero Deaths" campaign, which has a goal of reducing traffic fatalities to 350 in 2014. There have been 117 road deaths to date this year, compared to 124 fatalities at this time last year.

State officials say that the most common cause of crashes in the state is driver inattention/distraction.

In Minnesota, it is illegal for drivers to text or access the Web with a phone anywhere, not just in work zones – including at stop lights and signs. During a statewide crackdown on texting drivers, 550 were cited during a weeklong April campaign.

Every year, the number of drivers cited for using cellphones at the wheel increases. Last year, 2,189 motorists were cited, up from just 93 in 2008.

A 21-year-old North Dakota man who was speeding and texting when he killed another driver last summer was recently sentenced to a 100-day public service campaign.

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