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Stop distracted driving

Zero deaths might strike some as an impractical goal when it comes to traffic safety, but Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) officials last week correctly pointed out that if a traffic death affects just one family member, that’s one traffic death too many for that family.

Toward Zero Deaths is a Minnesota safety initiative designed to create a safe driving culture in our state. The key to its success, according to MnDOT officials, is for motorists to practice and promote smart driving behavior.

Yes, alert drivers are the key to safety in so many traffic fatalities. No matter how safely a road is designed or how many stop lights are installed, human error can lead to tragedy on the highways.

“The one thing we can’t engineer is how people drive,” MnDOT Deputy Commissioner and Chief Engineer Sue Mulvihill said in a teleconference last week.

As part of the Toward Zero Deaths effort, MnDOT will conduct a crackdown on distracted driving from April 11-20.

Distracted driving can take many forms from changing a music CD, to waving at a neighbor, to dialing a cellphone number. The worst practice of distracted driving is texting. That’s why texting is illegal while driving in Minnesota.

We see distracted driving all the time on the road. When a car drifts out of the proper lane and then jerks back quickly, it’s almost a sure bet the driver took his or her eyes off the road to concentrate on some non-essential task.

Driving is serious business. Lives are at stake on even the most routine trip. That’s a message that should be stressed to all motorists, young and old. If you’re not sober and prepared to concentrate on operating your vehicle safely you should let someone else do the driving. The lives of everyone on the road depend on alert drivers.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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