Expect more enforcement of distracted driving laws in September

Local News

Holiday weekends can be deadly on the road — with increased traffic causing more car crashes than usual.

As Labor Day approaches, you might notice more law enforcement patrols on North Dakota roads.

Wednesday marks the start of the state transportation department’s “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” initiative.

The monthlong effort aims to cut down on distracted driving by increasing enforcement of the state’s texting while driving law, which carries a $100 fine.

North Dakota Department of Transportation Safety Public Information Program Manager Lauren Bjork says while the initiative is focused on texting, distracted driving includes anything that takes your mind and hands off the wheel.

Bjork also says there’s been an uptick in accident fatalities this year, with 73 recorded so far compared to 62 this time last year.

“Law enforcement across the state are working overtime to enforce the distracted driving law. In our last distracted driving period, we did have 186 citations for distracted driving. We also like to stress that they’re not just there to give tickets,” Bjork said. “If you’re driving down the road and see law enforcement, it just might be a reminder that you should put your phone away or maybe put your sandwich down, so they act as a reminder as well, not just out there to give out citations and tickets.”

The National Safety Council estimates there will be 466 fatalities on U.S. roads during the long weekend, a 19 percent increase from last year.

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