Minnesota supports national crackdown on distracted drivers

In recognition of April as national Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration organized the first-ever nation-wide distracted driving law enforcement campaign called "U Drive. U Text. U Pay." From April 10-15, 2014, safety officials in over 40 states coordinated their efforts to step up enforcement of distracted driving laws. Minnesota joined in the safety campaign, broadcasting the dangers of distracted driving and the penalties for distracted driving in Minnesota.

Minnesota efforts to curb distracted driving

Minnesota safety officials organized several activities in furtherance of the safety campaign. Officials reached out to the public through traditional media outlets, holding press conferences, issuing press releases and making public safety announcements in high schools across the state. In addition, officials launched a social media campaign, making YouTube videos about distracted driving and linking to those videos on Facebook and Twitter.

The media messages aimed at educating drivers about the different types of distractions that people face behind the wheel and the tragedies to which distracted driving can lead. The Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety noted that some of the most common distractions that lead to auto accidents in the state include:

  • Talking on cellphones
  • Sending text messages
  • Adjusting mirrors or other controls in the vehicle
  • Eating or drinking
  • Reading navigation devices or maps

Minnesota distracted driving laws

Minnesota has outlawed many forms of distracted driving. It is illegal for all drivers to read or compose emails or text messages or access the internet while driving, including when the vehicle is stopped in traffic or at a stoplight. Those who violate the law face a fine of up to $300.

It is illegal for bus drivers to use cell phones at all while driving. Teen drivers are also prohibited from using cellphones while they have permits and provisional licenses.

Minnesota distracted driving accidents

The Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety reported that distracted driving is a factor in one of four auto accidents in the state, leading to over 70 fatalities and more than 350 injuries each year. Safety officials have gone to great lengths to get the word out about the dangers of distracted driving, but not all drivers are getting the message - and those drivers cause auto accidents. If you have been involved in an auto accident with a distracted driver, you can recover for your losses from the responsible party, for things such as medical bills, lost wages, damaged property and similar expenses. Speak with a skilled Minnesota auto accident lawyer to learn more about how you can obtain just compensation.