ARDEN HILLS, Minn. - Minnesota law enforcement staged a one-day concentrated enforcement of the state's ban on texting while driving Thursday. The idea was to impress drivers with the dangers of distracted driving.
The Minnesota State Patrol and Ramsey County Sheriff's Deputies took journalists for a ride by school bus down Twin Cities expressways for a glimpse of the problem as they see it. The bus was used to enable news crews to peer down into vehicles and observe the actions of passing cars and trucks.
"Occasionally, somebody will pull up next to you and they'll be on the phone. If I can sit and observe them doing it, it is a little bit of a different story when I go to write a citation for it," said Tim Entner, Ramsey County Deputy. Entner is a 24 year veteran of his department. He said his job responsibility is traffic enforcement.
The afternoon sloppy road conditions were not ideal for observing the actions of possibly distracted drivers. The Spring snowstorm made driving and observation difficult.
Entner pointed out that many Minnesotans seem not to understand parts of the law.
"A lot of people have their phones and they will realize they get a message and then they will come to a stop light or a stop sign and all of a sudden, they will start to look down and they will start that process (texting)," said Entner. Texting while driving, even if stopped at an intersection, is forbidden under the law.
Despite the difficulties of enforcement, Entner said he believes the effort is important. "People are taking their hands off the wheel. They are taking their eyes off the road. There are multiple studies that show that it is a very dangerous thing to do."
(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)