I'll never forget the day I was driving on Highway 52 at 60 mph, in my lane, going the speed limit, when this red car came out of nowhere.  My kids were in the back seat and I was immediately on high alert because I watched this red car swerve into my lane, back to her lane, and then over to the shoulder.  She drove like she was playing a pinball game, back and forth between the edges, for 2 miles.  She almost hit two other cars besides mine and I could see why she was so distracted.  Every time she would look down to text, the car would start swerving...at 60 mph.

I eventually honked at her and held my phone up in my hand and motioned to put her phone down.  I wasn't rude, I was trying to save her from hitting someone.  She flipped me off, started texting again, and swerving so I called 9-1-1 and passed along her license plate number, model and make of her car and what road she was near.  Not the first time I've done that and probably not the last.

If that person texting is you, please stop.  The number of fatalities as a result of distracted driving had a huge spike in 2023.  And, if you are thinking you won't get caught being distracted while driving, April may not be a month you want to get behind the wheel in Minnesota.

Photo by Alexandre Boucher on Unsplash
Photo by Alexandre Boucher on Unsplash
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What Does "Distracted Driving" Really Mean?

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the following are labeled as "distracted driving" and could lead to fines or charges.

  • Cell Phones - you can not hold your phone in your hand.  Period.
  • No Posting on Social Media - no streaming, posting, or even accessing your accounts.  That BeReal that just went off might be fun to make happen in 2 minutes but probably isn't worth the $100, $300, or more that it could cost you.
  • Internet - do you have something you need to look up on Google, or want to check the score of your favorite team, or need to see what that e-mail said?  None of that is allowed even if you are in hands-free mode.
  • Eating - that burger that has the works on it that you are trying to unwrap while you are getting ready to merge onto the highway, is a no-go as well.

I know, you just went to Culver's and got a juicy Butterburger or grabbed a chicken sandwich at Kwik Trip and are going to eat it while you drive.  Once again, if you are planning to be distracted while driving, you may not want to get behind the wheel of a car in April in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.  Here's why...


Extra Distracted Driving Enforcement on Minnesota Roads in April

Between 2019 and 2023, nearly 30,000 crashes happened in Minnesota where distracted driving played a part.  Way too many!  And as I mentioned above, the number of fatalities where distracted driving had a role went from 22 in 2022 to 33 in 2023.  A total of 148 people have lost their lives due to distracted driving in 2019 to 2023.

148 people.  Gone.

Texting and driving wreck hitting pedestrian
mokee81 ThinkStock

"Simply put, a two-ton vehicle with a distracted driver behind the wheel can steal a life. Don't fool yourself. You're distracted anytime you shift your attention from driving. It can be challenging, but for everyone's safety, focus on driving."

- Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety Director Mike Hanson

For your safety and mine, extra enforcement will be on Minnesota roads the entire month of April with the focus on distracted drivers.  You focus on driving and they won't focus on you.

More Minnesota News:

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Before you hit that "Add to Cart" button or fill up your cart at Walmart, there are a few things that the big box store is selling that you will need to keep forever. Below are 20 items you can never return to a Walmart store. (And I'm really glad that a few of these are on the list!)

Gallery Credit: Jessica On The Radio

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