Distracted driving. Police agencies throughout the state are doing extra enforcement to catch distracted drivers and a bunch of questions have cropped up. "I can get ticketed at a light when I check Facebook? But I'm not moving!" "Can I check GPS?" "Can I dial a phone?" Well, here are the answers....

In order...yes, so?, Yep, Yep.

Looking at your phone for anything other than navigation or to make a call is considered distracted driving in Minnesota. Aren't they equally distracting, though? Yeah, that's what I think, too...but the law is the law and that's how it's written, as this Star Tribune non-embedable video shows.

What's the law say?  The folks at the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety lay it out...

It is illegal for drivers to read/compose/send text messages and emails, or access the Internet using a wireless device while the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic —including stopped in traffic or at a traffic light.

Cell phone use is totally banned for school bus drivers.

Cell phone use is totally banned for teen drivers during their permit and provisional license stages.

And remember, it's not just our phones that are distracting. Let's go back to the OTS for some suggestions to avoid all the things that can distract you. driving...

John Panella

Cell phones — turn off cell phones, or place them out of reach to avoid the urge to dial or answer.

  • Music and other controls — pre-program favorite radio stations for easy access and arrange music in an easy-to-access spot. Adjust mirrors and heat/AC before traveling, or ask a passenger to assist.
  • Eating and drinking — try to avoid food/beverage, at least messy foods, and be sure food and drinks are 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.
  • And the goal isn't to stomp your dreams into a pile of poo... it's to keep us safe. Deaths on Minnesota roadways are way up, and we need to look out for each other.