Distraced driving enforcement set for April 11-20

The Carver County Sheriff’s Office is conducting extra enforcement 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.
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.