Klobuchar, State Patrol target distracted drivers

A state trooper pulls over a driver.
Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Gordon Shank pulls over a speeding driver on westbound Interstate 94 in St. Paul.
Mark Zdechlik | MPR News

Sen. Amy Klobuchar joined the head of the Minnesota State Patrol and others Monday to call attention to problems associated with irresponsible driving, including distracted driving. 

Through August there were 16 deaths linked to  distracted driving. That's up from 10 during the same period of time last year, according to the  Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety.

Klobuchar said money in the federal Infrastructure law gives states incentives for cracking down on distracted drivers, which she says is just the latest in a string of traffic safety concerns.

"Together, we can change attitudes. We know we've done it with seat belts. We know we've done it with drinking and driving,” Klobuchar said. “And we can do even more."

Klobuchar said a provision of the infrastructure law she co-sponsored helps ensure states are able to access funding to enforce distracted driving laws and educate drivers to help keep roads safe. 

Traffic stops in Minnesota overall this year are up 15 percent and arrests for alcohol-impaired driving are up nearly 30 percent over last year, according to State Patrol Chief  Lt. Matt Langer.

“What we're seeing in 2022 is the overall trend tentatively, thankfully, is fewer deaths on the road,” Langer said. “What's causing those deaths is still open to a lot of interpretation and we know that distraction is absolutely part of it."

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