Texting Citations Spike In 2017, Other Traffic Violations Down
251,051. That's how many citations were handed out last year to Minnesota motorists.
That number may sound high, but it's actually the 3rd–lowest total throughout the state in the last six years.
Training and an increase in drivers obeying the speed limit and wearing seat belts have helped lower these totals, decreasing by 3 percent in 2017.
Minnesota State Patrol Sergeant Troy Christianson said, "It's good to see that we've had a reduction in seat belt citations and also speeding citations. We've done a lot of education on those two and we've started to do more education on distracted driving but we need to continue to do that."
Reading newspapers, putting on makeup and shaving are just a few distractions state troopers have seen.
Even though there are number of different factors that can shift a driver's attention, one small device leads the way.
While speeding and seat belt citations have gone down, texting behind the wheel has risen. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety have reported a 23 percent increase of texting citations from 2016-2017. One five second text can take your eyes of the road for 300 feet, that's equivalent to the length of an entire football field.
Weaving in and out of lanes and traveling at different speeds are signs law enforcement key in on to help decipher if a person is distracted.
Not paying attention to the road is dangerous, as distracted driving contributes to an average of 59 deaths and 223 serious injuries each year.
Since 2012, the number of texting citations have increased every year, with more than 7,000 given out in 2017. That adds up to a more than 430 percent jump in six years. Leaving law enforcement to spread the word: no text message is worth a life.
According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, a distraction plays a role in one out of every four fatal crashes.
- KEYC 12