In an effort to make roadways safer in Wright County, deputies from the Sheriff’s Office focused on cracking down against drivers engaged in distracted driving habits on July 16th. The campaign. according to Sheriff Joe Hagerty, focused on drivers “texting” while driving. Deputies also were watching for any other distractions that may cause the driver’s attention to be taken away from the important task of operating a vehicle in a safe manner.
According to the department’s Office of Traffic Safety, more than 86,000 crashes were attributed to distracted driving from 2009-2013 — that amounts to 25 percent of all crashes in those five years.
In Minnesota, it is illegal for drivers to read, compose or send texts and emails, as well as access the web on a wireless device when the vehicle is in motion — or part of traffic. That also includes stopping at stop lights or stop signs, or while waiting in stopped traffic. It is also illegal for drivers under the age of 18 to use a cell phone at any time.
Even though the distracted driving campaign will take place on July 16th, our deputies will continuously watch for distracted drivers to assure the roadways are safe for all motorists.
• Cell phones — turn off cell phones, or place them out of reach to avoid the urge to dial or answer. If a passenger is present, ask them to handle calls/texts.
• Music and other controls — pre-program favorite radio stations for easy access and arrange music (mp3 player/CDs/tapes) in an easy-to-access spot. Adjust mirrors and heat/AC 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.
• 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.
• Passengers — speak up to stop drivers from distracted driving behavior.
• When making/receiving a call, ask if the person is driving. If so, ask them to call back at a safer time.