Ask a trooper: No-texting-while-driving rule is hard to enforceE-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or mail your question to Duluth News Tribune, Attn: Ask the State Trooper, 424 W. First St., Duluth, MN 55802. You may remain anonymous if you choose.
Q: I had just heard recently that for at least two years now, Minnesota has had a law against texting while driving. Why do we see so many drivers texting then if that’s true and why is it not being enforced more?
A: It is true, and as far as I know, we are indeed enforcing it, but not without difficulty. Texting is not easy to see at different times, and of course people see our squad cars and are careful not to let us see them texting. I can assure you we are watching out for it, but it is kind of like fishing — we will never get them all.
We don’t believe many people are unaware of the law, but perhaps some are. Studies show that just having texting laws doesn’t work. They help, but we do need to step up enforcement and we need all drivers to take personal responsibility for their own actions behind the wheel and not text.
Many people think they can legally text while waiting in traffic at a stop light, but that is not legal either. Inattentive driving is one of the most common contributing factors in our crashes every year, and texting is a large part of the inattentive driving problem. Passengers can help be enforcers by speaking up to stop the driver from texting or talking and offer to help with directions, music and phone calls. Thanks for asking.
Sgt. Curt S. Mowers is a regional public information officer for the Minnesota State Patrol.