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EYE ON PARENTING: New data show 30-49-year-olds received most hands-free citations in first five months

videoblocks.com

DULUTH, MN -- Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths Director, Holly Kostrzweski says even though the hands-free law went into effect August 1st, 2019, she still sees too many people holding her phone.

"It's a little heartbreaking because these are the laws so- how are people not still following them?" said Kostrzweski.

Distracted driving contributed to more than 60,000 crashes in Minnesota from 2014 to 2018, according to data from handsfreemn.org.

New data from the state shows from August 2019 through December, 9,727 citations were given out for violating the hands-free law. 

Of those citations, 3,518 were drivers from ages 16-29.

1,655 were 50-75-year-olds.

The age range with the most citations were 30-49-year-olds with 4,520 hands-free citations while one age was unknown.

Kostrzweski says those numbers surprise many.

"They (people) think it's going to be the teenagers all the time. It's the adults we are not being very good role models," said Kostrzweski.

Kostrzweski says in order for all of those numbers to decrease we need to do better in order to raise better. 

"Kids are the best mimickers- they just mimic what we do. Whenever they turn forward in their car seat they start observing how you drive. You talk on your phone- they are going to talk on their phone, you text and drive- they'll text and drive."

In Minnesota, texting citations climbed 30 percent from 2017 to 2018.
Kostrezkie credits the numbers to humans trying to do it all- at once.

"I think that society has turned 'drive time' into extra time or free time. They think they have that time to not drive and to be focused on whatever is most important to them instead of thinking that driving should be the most thing to you at that moment," said Kostrzweski.

Do onto others as you want to be done to you.

"All of your kids are watching that, and you would be devastated if someone else hit your family while they were videoing something, so why do you think that you should video behind the wheel or send a text while behind the wheel?" said Kostrzweski.

Even though distracted related deaths have gone down from August 2019 through January 12th, 2020, according to handsfreemn.org,  the state's goal is to have the number reach zero.

"So just think about what habit you have that you don't want your kid to take on and try to eliminate that habit."

For more information on the data collected: https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ots/hands-free/Pages/default.aspx.

Lyanne Valdez

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