Minnesota Law Enforcement Busts Distracted Drivers With Help From a School Bus

Drivers will have to go hands-free on Aug. 1st because of a new law taking effect

Moorhead, Minn. — On an average day, Moorhead Police pull over 40 to 70 people for distracted driving.

But during the past year, 110 distracted drivers haven’t stopped for Moorhead Public School buses.

“They have that electronic device in their hand. They’re either texting, checking their emails, searching the worldwide web is against the law in Minnesota. and we’re looking for those violations today,” said Capt. Deric Swenson, with the Moorhead Police Department.

This is the fifth year Minnesota authorities are hopping on the school bus and driving down 8th Street South to see how many drivers will follow the rules of the road for their bus driver. Events like the the one held Monday are funded by the state’s Towards Zero Death campaign to cut down on distracted drivers on the roads.

“We’re not trying to hide anything. If people look up and see that we’re in there, our message is that we want people to think there’s an officer on every school bus,” Swenson said. “We’re not trying to be tricky. We’re just trying to get that education out there that you need to pay attention around school buses.”

Officers pulled over 32 drivers and wrote 14 tickets for distracted driving on Monday.

They are not pulling drivers over simply for having a phone in their hands. That’ll all change on August 1st, when a new state law banning the use of hand-held cellphones while driving takes effect.

“A lot of times when we have crashes, especially in this time of year now where we finally don’t have any ice or snow, we’re able to still have these crashes and a lot of times people get in a crash because they’re not paying attention. So anything we do to make the roads safer is something we find as a benefit,” Swenson said.

The fine for distracted driving is $135. For a second offense, it doubles to $280.

Categories: Local News, Minnesota News, Moorhead