Dakota County cracks down during Distracted Driving Awareness Month

- April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month in Minnesota, and on Wednesday, a big enforcement kicked off in Dakota County.

We see drivers on their phones on a regular basis, and law enforcement sees it, too. Some people are simply unaware they're next to a squad car and some are unaware of the law.

Throughout the day, drivers got expensive reminders. 15 officers stopped 128 vehicles, and 95 of those stops were for distracted driving.

Officers handed out 48 distracted driving tickets, and one officer was tied up on crash caused by someone gawking at a distracted driving traffic stop.

One driver claimed he was getting a call. However, his phone said otherwise.

“See, your text screen was just up there,” Sgt. Matt Schuster said.

The crackdown was hosted by the Dakota County sheriff's department and assisted by five other agencies.

AAA also assisted in the campaign by providing cell slips, pouches that cut off cell signals.

“For this particular campaign, we're providing more than 5,000 of these across the state of Minnesota to more than 50 law enforcement agencies,” said Gail Weinholzer of AAA.

“Driving over here, approximately four miles to meet up with you, I had to make two separate stops for texting while driving,” Schuster said.

The point of crackdowns like these - which will go across the state this month – is to point out that anything but a phone call is illegal, even at a stop light.

“She says she was looking in her calendar, but she's still accessing within the phone contents,” he said. “Now that people can access their entire lives on their phones, within the last year or two is when we've really had to do the saturations.”


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