Distracted driving enforcement campaign results in more than 2,800 citations

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) says 2,843 citations were given throughout April to distracted drivers throughout the state.

According to the DPS, the citations were for hands-free cellphone law violations.

Among those cited included a school bus driver in Rogers, who authorities say was stopped for having a phone up to his face while speeding and swerving across lane lines with multiple children inside.

A total of 298 agencies participated in the campaign, which lasted from April 1-30.

DPS says the St. Paul Police Department had the most citations in the metro area with 279, followed by the Minnesota State Patrol — 248 in the west metro region and 115 in the east metro region. They were followed by Orono and Minnetonka, with 42 and 40, respectively.

Outside of the metro, the most citations were given by the State Patrol in the Virginia region (167), followed by St. Cloud (157), Duluth (111) and Rochester (100). They were then followed by the Duluth Police Department, Elk River Police Department, and the State Patrol in the Brainerd, Mankato and Thief River Falls regions.

Drivers who violate the hands-free law face a fine of at least $100 for the first offense, at least $300 for a second offense and a felony charge if someone is injured or killed while violating the law.

According to DPS, in 2021, there were 27 distraction-related traffic deaths and 154 suspected serious injuries. That’s down from 2010, when there were 76 distracted-related deaths and 236 suspected serious injuries.