97 texting citations issued in state

How big of a problem is texting by vehicle drivers? If the results of a one-day police saturation is a true indicator, it’s a big problem. According to preliminary results from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety, 97 texting citations were issued on April 19 during a one-day distracted driving saturation patrol carried out by 250 police agencies in the state. To provide context for the citation numbers, there were 3.5 texting citations issued on a typical day in 2011. And the number is sure to grow larger. The data released on April 25 includes reports from only 142 of the 250 law enforcement agencies. The figures are considered very preliminary as the number of citations will rise as the 108 remaining agencies submit reports, the department said. From the reports from the 142 agencies, a total of 2,419 stops made. Forest Lake Police Capt. Greg Weiss said his department conducted the detail but issued few citations. In addition to enforcement, public education was a key component of the effort. By promoting and publicizing the enforcement action, the focus was on raising  awareness that texting while driving is illegal and is a contributing factor in one-fourth of all crashes. Officers used the stops to talk with motorists about inattentive driving.