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Published April 27, 2012, 07:40 PM

Nearly 100 MN Drivers Issued Texting Citations in 1 Day

EAST GRAND FORKS, MN (WDAZ-TV) - Nearly 100 drivers were cited in one day for texting while driving as part of a Minnesota campaign. Local police officers say it can be hard to tell when someone is texting, but if you're caught, the fines can be more than $115.

EAST GRAND FORKS, MN (WDAZ-TV) - Nearly 100 drivers were cited in one day for texting while driving as part of a Minnesota campaign. Local police officers say it can be hard to tell when someone is texting, but if you're caught, the fines can be more than $115.

Officers in Minnesota made more than 2,000 stops and issued 97 texting citations during the statewide campaign on April 19.

But finding offenders isn't always as easy as it may seem.

Police officer Ben Deckert hasn't been at the East Grand Forks police department very long, but he says he's already seen people texting and driving.

"You know sometimes it's really hard because people are texting down here or at a stop light or something," Deckert said.

The fines can be between $115 and $135. And people still forget that texting and driving is illegal in Minnesota.

"It's just like wearing your seatbelt which is now a primary offense too, we see people all the time not wearing their seatbelts," Deckert said.

Minnesota outlawed texting while driving in 2008. Last week, a Distracted Driving Day let drivers know about the risks.

"When you're talking about something that's extremely hard to enforce like texting, education becomes your number one weapon," Crookston Police Dept. Detective Sargeant Aaron Pry said.

Since 2008, the numbers of citations have more than doubled from nearly 3-hundred to 784. Officers say more media options available on phones make people more easily distracted.

"Now you're able to get work info. On your phone, emails, text messages from work, keeping track of kids, kids keeping track of friends, it's rapidly becoming more and more distracting," Pry said.

"No matter what people are still going to do it but I think more people are becoming aware of it," Deckert said.

The usual number of tickets handed out to drivers who are texting while driving each day is between three and four.

It is illegal for drivers to text, e-mail or view internet whether you are driving or stopped at a stop light.

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