Distracted driving accounts for at least 25 percent of automobile accidents in the United States, but more people continue to drive while distracted, according to the latest statistics from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
According to the data, police issued more texting while driving citations in 2018 than in any previous year. This really shouldn’t come as that big of a surprise, because since the practice was explicitly outlawed in 2012, Minnesota has seen an increase in texting while driving citations every year. Here’s a closer look at how texting while driving citations have increased in Minnesota over the years:
2012 – 1,707
2013 – 2,177
2014 – 3,498
2015 – 4,115
2016 – 5,988
2017 – 7,357
2018 – 9,545
If the trend continues, and honestly why shouldn’t we expect it to, it appears that police may write more than 10,000 citations for texting while driving in 2019.
The 9,545 citations were a huge increase from 2017 alone. That number represents a 30 percent increase from last year, and a 459 percent increase from 2012. Not surprisingly, police aren’t happy with the trend.
“The citation data underscores the significant challenge we have in getting drivers to pay attention to the task of driving,” said Col. Matt Langer, chief of the Minnesota State Patrol. “We encourage all drivers to pay attention to the task of driving, which is a full-time job.”
If you are pulled over, don’t expect police to let you off with a warning. A first offense citation for texting while driving is $50, but that can jump to triple digits when other court fees are assessed. Subsequent offenses increase to $225, and now there’s a push by lawmakers to allow police to confiscate the cell phone device after a certain number of citations. Don’t lose your property and your hard earned money because you decided to text behind the wheel.
We’ve handled a lot of texting while driving cases, and we seem to be getting more of these types of cases every day. You may not think that’s it’s a big deal and opt to pay the fine, but aside from these cases often being difficult to prove from a police officer’s standpoint, they can also have long-ranging consequences in the form of potential license restrictions and significant car insurance premium increases. Don’t just pay the fine and assume that’s the end of it. Consider challenging the case.
We understand that nobody wants to pay more for a lawyer than the fine amount they are being charged with, but remember that most tickets have hidden costs and consequences. At a minimum, do yourself a favor and set up a consultation with a lawyer at our firm. This service is free of charge and requires no obligation on your part. We’ll be open and honest with you during this meeting, and if we feel like you’d be better off contesting it on your own or paying the fine, we’ll say so. But if we think we can win the case and it’s worth your time, we’ll ask that you consider letting us fight on your behalf. To set up that free strategy session, give us a call at (952) 224-2277. Whether it’s for texting while driving or some other crime, we’re happy to help.