Yesterday, many of our local law enforcement, dignitaries and athletes held a press conference at UMD's Romano Gym to bring awareness to the statewide Distracted Driving enforcement effort.  The  increased enforcement will take effect today. Here's some tips on what is considered legal in the state of MN and how to avoid distractions while driving.Nearly 400 city and county law enforcement agencies are partnering with the State Patrol during the statewide enforcement. Driver distraction is a contributing factor in one-quarter of all Minnesota vehicle crashes annually, resulting in 208 deaths and nearly 26,000 injuries in the last three years.

In Minnesota, it is illegal for drivers to read, compose or send texts/emails, and access the Webon a wireless device while the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic — even at a stoplight/stop sign, or stuck in traffic. It is also illegal for drivers under age 18 to use a cell phone at any time.  Minnesota’s “no texting” law was enacted in August 2008

Tips to minimize distractions:

· Cell phones — turn off cell phones, or place them out of reach to avoid the urge to dial/answer or read or send a text. If a passenger is present, ask them to handle calls/texts.

· Music and other controls — pre-program favorite radio stations and arrange music in an easy-to-access spot. Adjust mirrors and AC/heat 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, and pull over to study a map or program the GPS.

· Eating and drinking — try to avoid food/beverage (especially messy foods) and have drinks 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.

· Passengers should speak up to stop drivers from distracted driving behavior.

· If making/receiving a call to/from someone driving, ask them to call back when they are not driving.

Info via:  City of Duluth Press Release