St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Minnesota Department of Public Safety is giving advance notice of a crackdown on distracted driving.

The two-week-long enhanced enforcement campaign will run from next Monday through April 23 and will involve officers from several hundred local law enforcement agencies and the Minnesota State Patrol. The plans for the federally funded effort were announced during a news conference in St. Paul today.

“We live such hectic lives with appointments, activities and stress from job, school and family demands,” acknowledged Office of Traffic Safety Director Donna Berger. “Because of all the pressures, the right choice behind the wheel isn’t always the easiest choice, but it’s a life-saving choice. Please pay attention.”

State statistics show distracted driving was listed as a contributing factor in traffic crashes that killed 74 people and resulted in more than 7,600 injuries in Minnesota in 2015. The number of motorists ticketed for distracted driving has been increasing at a rapid rate over the past five years. In 2012, the total was just over 1,700 and last year that number had grown to just under 6,000.

Minnesota law prohibits drivers from reading, composing or sending texts and emails while the vehicle is in motion or part of traffic. The prohibition also covers accessing the Internet and includes time spent stopped for traffic lights, stop signs or in traffic. The state law also makes it illegal for drivers with a permit or provisional license to use a cell phone while driving.

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