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More Than 1,000 Distracted Driving Citations Issued In Crackdown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Public safety officials say that state troopers and local police agencies across Minnesota handed out more than 1,000 citations for distracted driving during an enhanced enforcement period last month.

For two weeks in mid-April, more than 300 Minnesota law enforcement agencies dished out 1,017 citations to motorists who were texting and driving.

While the number of citations is higher than officials would like it to be, it's only slightly higher than the number of citations given out last year, during an enforcement period that was half as long.

"The numbers during our two-week campaign show some people are getting the message, especially when looking at the numbers from the previous year," said Donna Berger, the director of the state's Office of Traffic Safety. "However, one person distracted on the road is one too many."

Some of the drivers ticketed in April were distracted by more than just text messages. Many were on Snapchat, public safety officials say, and some were doing more complicated tasks.

One man stopped near Lengby was found making an NBA fantasy draft list on his phone. Elsewhere, a driver failed to stop for a pedestrian because he was distracted by a chicken in his lap.

Year over year, the number of distracted driving citations issued by police, state troops and sheriff's deputies continues to climb. In 2014, the number of citations issued was 3,498. Last year, it was 5,988.

Public safety officials say the contributing factor cited most often in crashes and accidents is distraction.

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