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Higher Fine for Texting While Driving

​Drivers who repeatedly choose texting over safety while behind the wheel risk a higher fine for violating the law beginning August 1. Under the enhanced law, drivers face a $225 fine for second and subsequent violations of the texting while driving law, in addition to the current $50 fine.

In Minnesota, it is illegal for drivers to read, compose or send texts and emails, and access the web while the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic. That includes sitting at a stoplight or stop sign. It is also illegal for drivers with a permit or provisional driver’s license to use a cell phone while driving, except for emergencies to call 911.

 

Traffic Fatalities Lowest Since World War II

Minnesota traffic fatalities dropped to 361 last year, the lowest since World War II when 356 people lost their lives in 1944. In addition, traffic fatalities are down 66 percent since 1968 when Minnesota reached an all-time record of 1,060 deaths.

Fewer people died on Minnesota roads, and the total number of crashes increased by less than 1 percent to 78,396 in 2014.   While progress is being made, it’s been a difficult start to 2015 as fatalities to date are outpacing reported numbers from a  year ago. Motorists must commit to being safe drivers as 2014 stats show troubling factors:
  • Driver inattention/distraction was the number one contributing factor in 2014 traffic fatalities in multiple vehicle crashes, surpassing speed as the top factor a year ago.
  • Other contributing factors, in order, include failure to yield the right of way and following too closely.

Safe Summer Driving

​As Minnesotans head to the lake or just kick back at home during the summer months,  the Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS/OTS) reminds motorists to travel safely.

Recent fatal crashes have pushed the preliminary number of traffic deaths in Minnesota  29 percent higher this year, compared to  this time last year. And the three summer holidays are deadliest major holidays of the year on Minnesota roads.

Holiday Fatalities (2010 – 2014)

  • Fourth of July: 25
  • Labor Day: 24
  • Memorial Day: 22
  • New Year’s Day: 16
  • Christmas: 13
  • Thanksgiving: 13

DPS/OTS reminds motorists:

  • Buckle up – Lack of seat belt use accounts for about half of motorists killed.
  • Slow down – Speed contributes to one out of every four fatalities.
  • Pay attention – Distracted driving contributes to one in four crashes.
  • Always drive sober – In 2014, 88 people died from drunk driving-related crashes.
  • Look twice for motorcyclists – Motorcycles are smaller so they can be harder to see and their speed is difficult to judge.


Video Description: Car crashes can be horrific, but they are even worse when vehicle speeds increase. On average, 28 people lose their lives and 79 people suffer severe injuries during the three month summer period (June – August) due to unsafe speeds on Minnesota roads.