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Minn. cops cite 54% more drivers for texting in annual campaign

ST. PAUL -- For the fourth year in a row, citations for texting while behind the wheel climbed during Minnesota’s annual distracted driving campaign.

Officers, deputies and troopers cited 1,576 motorists for texting and driving during the recent two-week campaign, a 54 percent increase over the 1,017 cited during last year’s campaign.

There were also 1,883 seat belt citations, compared with 1,517 in 2017.

The St. Paul Police Department reported the most violations, citing 171 motorists for seat belt violations or distracted driving — more citations than any other participating department in the state.

Texting violations have increased steadily since 2012, contributing to an average of nearly 60 distracted driving deaths each year from 2012 to 2016, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. More than 300 law enforcement agencies participated during the extra enforcement campaign from April 9-22.