Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - Local law enforcement officials, students, and others participated in an event today at Rochester Community and Technical College to publicize the start of a week-long statewide enforcement campaign targeting distracted drivers.

Preliminary statistics from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety show distracted driver-related crashes in the state last year resulted in 47 deaths and over 7300 injuries.

“A recent AAA study found that distraction was a factor in 58 percent of all teen crashes. This validates why we are reaching out to college age students and high schools,” said Kristine Hernandez, the Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths program coordinator.

Several hundred local law enforcement agencies around Minnesota and the State Patrol will have extra officers on patrol through Saturday looking for distracted drivers.

In Minnesota, state law prohibits drivers from reading, composing or sending texts and emails. It’s also illegal to access the Internet on a wireless device and its illegal for drivers under the age of 18 to use a cell phone at any time.

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