During Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April, Eden Prairie police officers are working designated shifts to keep an eye out for motorists not paying full attention while driving.
According to an April 11 post on the EPPD blog, distracted driving remains a significant problem in Minnesota, with 22 distraction-related fatalities and 126 serious injuries reported in 2022. In Eden Prairie, officers issued 164 citations and 57 written warnings for distracted driving last year.
The EPPD would like to remind drivers that having a phone in their hand while driving is illegal, even when stopped at a traffic light or sign.
The first ticket for distracted driving costs more than $120, including the fine and court fees, with subsequent tickets carrying even steeper fines. Drivers may also face felony charges of criminal vehicular operation or homicide in case of injury or death resulting from texting and driving.
Drivers should also note that the hands-free law applies to smartwatches, considered electronic communications devices under the law. While drivers can use them to check the time, the blog stated that they cannot type or text on them while driving.
Additionally, stopping on the shoulder of an interstate freeway or controlled-access highway to use a phone or electronic device is prohibited by law. If they need to use their phone, drivers are encouraged to find a safe place to pull over, such as a gas station.
“The EPPD would like to remind all drivers that when you are driving, your ONLY responsibility is to drive,” the blog stated.
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