Take Action to Stop the Distraction
Distracted or inattentive driving is when a driver engages in any activity that might distract them from the primary task of driving — and increases their risk of crashing.
Over the last five years (2013-2017) in Minnesota, distracted or inattentive driving was a contributing factor in one in five crashes, resulting in an average of 53 deaths and 216 serious injuries each year. The Department of Traffic Safety Office of Traffic Safety estimates these numbers are underreported due to law enforcement’s challenge in determining distraction as a crash factor.
While many motorists may perceive driving as a routine activity, attentive driving is critical as the traffic environment changes constantly and drivers must be prepared to react.
Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving
Drivers face many distractions behind the wheel. Share these tips with family and friends to take action to stop the distraction:
Cell phones — turn off cell phones, or place them out of reach to avoid the urge to dial or answer. If a passenger is present, ask them to handle calls/texts.
Music and other controls — pre-program favorite radio stations for easy access and arrange music (mp3 player/CDs/tapes) in an easy-to-access spot. Adjust mirrors and heat/AC before traveling, or ask a passenger to assist.
Navigation — designate a passenger to serve as a co-pilot to help with directions. If driving alone, map out destinations in advance, and pull over to study a map.
Eating and drinking — try to avoid food/beverage, at least messy foods, and be sure food and drinks are secured.
Children — teach children the importance of good behavior in a vehicle; do not underestimate how distracting it can be to tend to children while driving.
Passengers — speak up to stop drivers from distracted driving behavior.
When making/receiving a call, ask if the person is driving. If so, ask them to call back at a safer time.
Minnesota's "No Texting while Driving" Law
It is illegal for drivers to read/compose/send text messages and emails, or access the Internet using a wireless device while the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic —including stopped in traffic or at a traffic light.
Cell phone use is totally banned for school bus drivers.
New "Body Bag" Texting TV Spots