Law enforcement across Minnesota have issued some 9,700 citations to violators of the state’s hands-free law in the first five months the law has been in effect, reports the Star Tribune.
Minnesota’s hands-free law, which bans drivers from holding a cellphone or other wireless devices while operating a motor vehicle, went into effect on Aug. 1, 2019.
Yet in a five-month period 4,259 drivers were ticketed for dialing a phone number, talking or listening while holding a phone, or participating in a video call; 3,033 drivers were caught reading or composing an electronic message; and 2,168 drivers were cited for watching videos, playing games or using other software applications, notes the report.
The fact that so many drivers continue to violate the new measure has prompted the Department of Public Safety to launch an educational campaign reminding motorists of what they can and can’t do with their cellphone while behind the wheel, according to the report.
Called “Park the Phone,” the campaign includes billboards, radio spots, and social media to hammer home the message of what it means to drive “hands-free.”
The initiative launched on Jan. 20 and will continue for one month.
State data indicates that Minnesota has lost an average of 60 people a year to distracted driving. In addition, there are approximately 234 serious injuries and 1,695 minor injuries each year attributed to drivers not focusing on the road, reports Twincities.com.