St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Minnesota Department of Public Safety held a news conference Wednesday to announce an upcoming enhanced enforcement campaign.

Officials say the State Patrol and several hundred local law enforcement agencies throughout Minnesota will have extra officers on patrol beginning next Monday for a week-long  crackdown on distracted drivers. The officers will be on the lookout for motorists texting or other illegal cellphone use while driving, along with other violations involving distractions to the task of safely navigating a vehicle.

  • Preliminary numbers show that distraction was a factor in nearly 17,400 crashes in 2015, resulting in 74 deaths and 174 serious injuries.
  • In a five year period (2010 – 2014), 328 people lost their lives and 1,138 people suffered life-changing injuries in distracted driving-related crashes.
  • During the 2015 extra enforcement distracted driving campaign, law enforcement cited 909 drivers for texting and driving, a 65 percent increase over the previous year (550).

A first-time offender faces a $50 fine plus court costs, while the fine for repeat offenders climbs to $275.

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