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Dakota County Sheriff's Office Launches Push to Combat Distracted Drivers

April 05, 2017 01:32 PM

With April as distracted driving month, the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday launched a countywide enforcement effort designed to prevent the practice. 

Deputy Matt Schuster kick-started the initiative. He said more than 15 officers are assigned to particular areas throughout the county to spot and stop distracted drivers. 

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As they do, they'll push drivers on a little red pouch.

“We want drivers to stay off their phones, so we are encouraging them to use the CELLslip pouch,” he said. “All you need to do is slip your cell phone in the pouch and it will block the signal to your phone.” 

RELATED: Bill Requiring Hands-Free Phone Use While Driving Passes House Committee

Schuster said the department will issue citations while teaming up with AAA Minnesota to promote the pouches. 

AAA spokesperson Gail Weinholzer said the auto group is donating 5,000 CELLslips to law enforcement agencies across Minnesota. 

“We want to donate the CELLslips to help officers combat distracted driving and use them for educational opportunities,” Weinholzer said. 

RELATED: State Troopers Investigating Accidents on Minnesota Roads Face Danger Themselves

Weinholzer said a driver will receive all voicemails, text messages and app notifications within seconds of removing their phone from the slip. 

“This is a way to prevent distracted driving and potentially save a life,” Weinholzer said. 

According to the state Office of Traffic Safety, each year in Minnesota distracted or inattentive driving is a factor in one in four crashes, resulting in at least 70 deaths and 350 serious injuries. 

Credits

Cleo Greene

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