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Public Safety highlights dangers of distracted driving

Post Date:04/30/2019 10:12 am

During prom week, Plymouth school resource officers and firefighters will greet high school students at Armstrong and Wayzata high schools as first responders put the dangers of distracted driving center stage. 

Public Safety personnel will display a vehicle, which was involved in a crash caused by distracted driving, outside of the high schools. The vehicle display is sponsored by Minnesotans for Safe Driving. Officers and firefighters will use the crash vehicle to engage students in conversation about the deadly consequences of distracted driving and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

The vehicle will be on display:

  • May 13-15 at Armstrong High School, 10635 36th Ave. N. 
  • May 15-17 at Wayzata High School, 4955 Peony Lane N.

Public Safety Education Specialist Sara Cwayna said between 2013 and 2017 in Minnesota, distracted or inattentive driving was a contributing factor in one in five crashes, resulting in an average of 53 deaths and 216 serious injuries each year. 

“Texting is a very dangerous distraction,” said Deputy Chief Erik Fadden. “If sending or reading a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for just 5 seconds, at 55 miles an hour, that's like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.” 

Officers will remind students that distracted driving is not just cellphones and texting. Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating or drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, or fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system. 

Starting Aug. 1 when a new hands free law goes into effect, drivers will no longer be able to hold their cell phones in their hands. They will be able to use their phones to make calls, text, listen to music or podcasts and get directions, but only by voice commands or single touch activation without holding the phone. Visit HandsFreeMN.org  for more information.

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