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The Minnesota road death numbers for 2010 continue to be dissected. The hope is that the more we learn the less deaths there will be in the future. One area that has to be looked at is driver distraction.

As the Alexandria Echo Press recently looked at:

In 2010, there were 74,073 vehicle crashes in Minnesota. The crashes resulted in 411 fatalities and 31,176 injuries – 1,191 of which were severe.

The fatalities were a combination of motorists (305); motorcyclists (45); pedestrians (36); bicyclists (9); ATV riders (8); moped riders (3); snowmobiles (3) and farm equipment occupants (2).

The most common factor in these crashes (in order of frequency) was – driver inattention/distraction, failure to yield right of way, and illegal or unsafe speed.

According to Sergeant Jesse Grabow, State Patrol public safety information officer from this area, one out of every four crashes involved distracted driving – such as texting, talking and eating.

“A distracted driving law went into effect in August of 2008 banning texting, e-mailing and Web usage while driving,” said Grabow. “However, it is still a very difficult law to enforce.”

Keep in mind these are cases where the at fault driver admits to doing something else or it can be shown. There is still a percentage of cases where the distracted driver conceals the facts.

All of this is evidence that we really need to keep a better lookout. These are collisions that really shouldn’t be taking place. Also if you are in an accident , make sure to look around or ask "what were you doing?"


  1. Mike: The worst offender are our damn mobile phones! If you are driving and you see a car coming your way or going the same way and the car starts to fade to the right or left and then, suddenly, rights itself, there are two choices: 1. The driver is alcohol or drug impaired 2. He is texting or dialing his phone. (I suppose there is a number 3 & 4-he is falling asleep or he is a terrible driver, but that's not the point of your post).

    If you must use your phone in the car, wait until you come to a stop before dialing, or, better yet, pull over, park and make your call or pen your text. One little mis-step, one little moment of inattention can cause a serious accident and/or serious injury/death. You don't want the victim to be you and you don't want to be the one responsible for the injury or death of another. Please, folks, drive attentively. And thanks again, Mike, for the valuable information. Regards, Mark

  2. Gravatar for Terrill Bennett

    Your story is well intended (and factual) but perpetuates the myth that cell phone keyboard-related activities are the big monsters in the closet.

    The NSC says 28% of all accidents are cell phone related; 25% caused by those talking and 3% by those texting. Yet politicians go after the lessor of two evils, and voters concur. (PDF @

    No... hands-free is not better than hand-held - you may as well be DUI (PDF@ and PDF@ and

    The IIHS says texting bans don't work. People just start TNDWHFP (Texting N'Driving While Hiding From Police). In fact, accident rates may rise (

    Worse: less than 3 out of 100 people can actually talk on a cell phone while driving, safely ( What's that say about the other 97 people cheerfully chatting while their 3,000 pound battering-ram is headed in your direction?

    Your story, facts and concern are great. Thanks for raising the issue. Perhaps you can give it more emphasis in the future?

  3. Terril, thanks for the comments, many of us here at the IB have written about the cellphone topic on a number of occasions, so don't worry we will be saying a lot more. Thanks for the comment and stopping by.

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