More than 300 law enforcement agencies across Minnesota are participating in the statewide Click It or Ticket campaign, cracking down on unbelted drivers and passengers. So far this year, 30 people not wearing their seatbelts have died in car crashes, including 10 in the month of April.
Troopers, deputies and local police officers are also on the lookout for distracted drivers. Law enforcement cited 909 drivers statewide for texting and driving within just 6 days of an April enforcement campaign, compared to 505 drivers cited over a 10-day period last April.
The fine for texting while driving is $50 for the first offense, but the penalty for a second offense is now $225 – a new increase signed into law this week by Gov. Mark Dayton.
Put it away
"People need to make a barrier. Put their phone in a purse or a bag, zip it up and set it aside so you're not tempted," State Patrol Lt. Tiffani Nielson said. "A lot of it is temptation. Maybe you're sitting in traffic and you feel like I can peek quick, but at some point it's going to catch up."
Set the example
"When you have children in your vehicle, don't be texting and driving," Lt. Nielson said. "When your children become drivers, set a rule that we don't text while driving – text me when you leave, text me when you arrive. And don't send a text to your teen driver to encourage them to check."