Eden Prairie Police are on high alert this month for distracted drivers.
The department is designating specific shifts for officers to focus on looking for distracted drivers. This effort is being made in honor of April being Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
An April 13 Eden Prairie Police Department blog reminds motorists that it is illegal to have their phones in their hands while driving. This includes sitting at a stoplight, stop sign or in traffic.
Police say distracted driving continues to be a problem both locally and statewide.
Preliminary figures show 26 distraction-related fatalities on Minnesota roadways and 101 serious injuries in 2021.
In Eden Prairie, officers issued 206 citations and written warnings for distracted driving throughout the year.
While phones are the most widely discussed, the blog cites other ways drivers can be distracted.
Here are some other examples and ways to eliminate these distractions:
- Music and other controls. Pre-program favorite radio stations for easy access and arrange music 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.
- Eating and drinking. Avoid consuming food and beverages, particularly messy foods, and ensure 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.
“The EPPD would like to remind all drivers that when you are driving, your ONLY responsibility is to drive,” the blog states. “Please keep this information in mind and drive safely!”