Minnesota law enforcement officers issued 550 citations for texting while driving during a 10 day distracted driving enforcement campaign, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said Monday.
That shows not enough people are getting the message about the dangers of inattentive driving, said State Patrol spokesman Lt. Eric Roeske. Distracted driving is a factor in 25 percent of crashes each year and inattentive drivers are also frequently pulled over for traffic violations, he added.
The number of citations issued yearly for texting and driving has increased steadily since the law passed in 2008.
"We tell them they're speeding or they went through a red light or did something else wrong," Roeske said. "Quite frequently the answer is, 'I wasn't paying attention. I didn't realize how fast I was going. I didn't realize the light was turning red.'"
During the campaign, officers also issued more than 1,300 citations for people driving without seatbelts and 25 tickets to people not using restraints for children, he added.