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Distracted driving is a problem

Law Enforcement officers and many people in our community have seen a number of interesting things on our area roads regarding distracted driving. Many have witnessed things involving the use of cellphones, eating and drinking, fixing and grooming hair, reading and watching videos. As we go about our daily and weekly routines remember the definition of this distracted driving problem we are facing and what we can all do in an effort to keep us all safe.   

Distracted driving is defined as any non driving activity a person does that may distract him or her from the primary task of driving.  

There are three main types of driving distractions:

1. Visual: Taking your eyes off the road. 

2. Manual: Taking your hands off the road.

3. Cognitive: Taking your mind off what you are doing.

Some call Driving While Texting the new DUI (driving under the influence.) Reading or writing a text, or email, slows down a persons reaction time by 35 percent and impairs steering wheel control by 91 percent, making you eight to 23 times more likely to be in a crash. Texters are not able to keep a safe distance from other cars and drifted out of their lane more often. With that said, we have more head-on crashes as well as vehicles that are simply driving off the road because they are inattentive and not doing what they are supposed to be doing. 

Five seconds to send a quick text is equal to the length of a football field when driving at 55 mph. That’s how long your eyes are off the road and keep in mind that the average conversation lasts three minutes.

Because of the busy world we live in, we seem to think that we need to be in contact with everyone at a moments notice. To be able to answer that phone call or text in seconds is believed to be a necessity in our society and something that we can’t live without. If it is an emergency, pull over and seek a safe area to answer the phone or text. Remember that multi-tasking while driving is not what we are supposed to be doing as our main focus should be on the road and driving the vehicle.  

As always, be safe!

Sheriff Todd Dahl can be contacted by mail at Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office, 304 Laurel Street, Brainerd, MN 56401; bytelephone (218) 829-4749; or by email at