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Police in Albert Lea, MN to crack down on distracted driving

This news story was published on April 7, 2014.
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Distracted driving

Distracted driving

ALBERT LEA, MN – The Albert Lea Police Department will be paying extra attention April 11-20 in an effort to reduce distracted driving.

Driver distraction is a leading crash factor in Minnesota, accounting for around 25 percent of all crashes annually. In 2012, distracted driver-related crashes resulted in 51 deaths and 8,304 injuries, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.

In Minnesota, it is illegal for drivers to read, compose or send texts/emails, and access the Internet on a wireless device while the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic, such as at a stoplight or stuck in traffic. It also is illegal for drivers under age 18 to use a cell phone at any time.

“Drivers need to make a serious effort to recognize and limit dangerous and unnecessary distractions, and passengers need to speak up to stop and prevent drivers from texting,” says Lt. Jeff Strom. “Your focus behind the wheel is far more important than the text message you are sending or reading behind the wheel.”

The Albert Lea Police Department underscores that driver distractions include reaching for items, fiddling with radio/music/vehicle controls, eating/drinking, dealing with rowdy passengers, grooming and more.

Tips to minimize distractions:

  • Cell phones — turn off cell phones, or place them out of reach to avoid the urge to dial/answer or read or send a text. If a passenger is present, ask them to handle calls/texts.
  • Music and other controls — pre-program favorite radio stations and arrange music in an easy-to-access spot. Adjust mirrors and AC/heat before traveling, or ask a passenger to assist.
  • Navigation — designate a passenger to serve as a co-pilot to help with directions. If driving alone, map out destinations in advance, and pull over to study a map or program the GPS.
  • Eating and drinking — try to avoid food/beverage (especially messy foods) and have drinks secured.
  • Children — teach children the importance of good behavior in a vehicle; do not underestimate how distracting it can be to tend to children while driving.
  • Passengers should speak up to stop drivers from distracted driving behavior.
  • If making/receiving a call to/from someone driving, ask them to call back when they are not driving.

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2 Responses to Police in Albert Lea, MN to crack down on distracted driving

  1. Avatar

    LVS Reply Report comment

    April 7, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Normally I do not like Minnesota laws but I think Iowa should have a distracted driving law like they do. I see car after car going by our house and the driver is texting or talking on the phone. I have seen a lot of wrecks up here and near misses every single day. I am not a big fan of laws but some are necessary.

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    not a texter Reply Report comment

    April 7, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    Kudos to Albert Lea! Hope North Iowa law enforcement does the same. Not only are drivers who are texters not paying attention – they’re not looking at any other traffic. They are the most dangerous drivers on the road.