Distracted Driving

For years traffic safety experts concentrated on three factors believed most responsible for crashes, injuries and fatalities on our roadways; speed, seat belts and alcohol. Experts looked to public education, legislation and enforcement to mitigate these factors in reducing crashes and their efforts have paid off. Minnesota's crash rate is now .87%, compared to 23.6% in 1934. Despite the lowest crash rate in our history we still had 411 deaths on Minnesota roads in 2015. Distraction or inattention has now joined speed, seat belts and impaired driving as the top factors that require our attention in order to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries on the roadway.

Distracted driving is different than speed, seat belts or impaired driving in that distracted driving is difficult to quantify. When a driver speeds on a roadway an officer can use radar "gun" to catch the speed on a digital read-out, compare that speed to the posted speed limit and issue a citation or ticket. It's clear to officers whether or not they witness a person wearing a seat belt or not while driving. We also have somewhat sophisticated research and technology to test drivers for alcohol and even drug impairment on our roadways. Distracted driving has no testing mechanism; no standard has been set for paying attention while driving, nor is it easy to identify. The problem with distracted driving is that it takes only a second of distraction to alter a person's driving behavior. All too many times people have said, "I took my eyes off the road for only a second," or "I just looked down to grab a fill in the blank."


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What can I do?

Seat belts save lives. Every person should buckle up in every seat every time.

Drive safe, drive smart, and drive the speed limit.

Crashes aren't accidents. Pay attention always!

Buzzed driving is drunk driving. Impairment begins with the first drink. Never drive drunk or get into a vehicle with a drunk driver!


What's Your Traffic IQ?

Traffic laws change. What you learned in driver’s education may be different than the laws on the road today. Find out the most current driving rules and regulations in the latest edition of the MN Driver’s License Manual

MN Driver's Manual link