BISMARCK, ND (KXNET) — The North Dakota Department of Transportation, in partnership with Vision Zero, will conduct their latest ‘U Drive. U Text. U Pay.’ enforcement period beginning September 1.

During these periods of surveillance, law enforcement offices across the state will add extra patrols and officers on highways and other major traffic sites in order to reduce the number of people driving while distracted. During the last ‘U Drive. U Text. U Pay’ period in April, a total of 151 citations were issued to those who displayed reckless behavior or a tendency to focus on things other than the road.

In the April period, Ramsey County Deputy Sherrif Bill Earl — who lost his own son Joe from a crash related to distracted driving — stressed how Joe’s decision to drive distracted still affects his family and friends to this day.

“Your family is more important than that text,” said Deputy Earl in a press release. “Why would you want to put your friends and family through the torment of losing you?”

As part of the campaign, all local law enforcement agencies are encouraging drivers to make the choice to hit the road free of distractions and take personal responsibility when driving a vehicle… if not for themselves, then for those who care about them.

“It will take all drivers making the conscious decision to drive distraction-free to meet the goal of Vision Zero,” says Burleigh County Sheriff Kelly Leben in the release. “If you are a passenger in a vehicle, speak up and volunteer to handle the electronics, including cell phones, so the driver can focus on the road.”

More information about Vision Zero is available on their website.