Department of Public Safety Launches Park the Phone Campaign

Department of Public Safety Launches Park the Phone Campaign Click to Enlarge Photo: Pixabay

(KNSI) - The Minnesota Department of Public Safety is launching a new campaign aimed at cutting down on distracted driving.

It's called the Park the Phone campaign.

The Minnesota hands-free law went into effect on August 1, 2019. State Patrol troopers and law enforcement officers throughout Minnesota have seen an increasing number of drivers using hands-free options such as mounts. However, some drivers who have been stopped say they know about the new law but are having a hard time breaking the habit.

The Department of Public Safety says distracted driving contributed to more than 60,000 (one in five) crashes from 2014 to 2018.

Since the state's new hands-free law went into effect, more than 97 hundred citations have been issued to drivers who are in violation of the law. Officials say between August 1, 2019, and January 12, 2020, preliminary numbers show that 182 people have died on Minnesota roads, and of those deaths, five percent were related to distracted driving. That compares to the same period between 2018 and 2019, where there were 201 fatalities. Seven percent of them were distraction-related. Between August 1, 2017, and January 12, 2018, there were fewer fatalities at 169, but 11 percent of them were related to distracted driving.

The law states that a person cannot have a phone in their hand for any reason at any time while they're driving unless it is an emergency.