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550 Drivers Cited For Texting While Driving

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A 10-day distracted driving campaign through the Minnesota Department of Public Safety resulted in 550 drivers being cited for texting while driving.

Law enforcement agencies increased efforts to crack down on distracted driving from April 11-20. During that time, officers also issued 1,394 citations for not wearing seat belts, 25 citations for not using child restraints and made 15 DWI arrests.

According to the department's Office of Traffic Safety, more than 86,000 crashes were attributed to distracted driving from 2009-2013 -- that amounts to 25 percent of all crashes in those five years.

Authorities say the recent campaign -- and the amount of citations issued -- shows there are still too many drivers that are making poor choices behind the wheel.

"Law enforcement officers across the state will continue to enforce distracted driving laws," Donna Berger, OTS director, said in a press release. "Drivers can and will be ticketed at any time for texting while driving, not just during an enhanced enforcement campaign."

In Minnesota, it it illegal for drivers to read, compose or send texts and emails, as well as access the web on a wireless device when the vehicle is in motion -- or part of traffic. That also includes stopping at stop lights or stop signs, or while waiting in stopped traffic.

It is also illegal for drivers under the age of 18 to use a cell phone at any time.

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