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BISMARCK, N.D. – Starting September 5 through the end of the month, law enforcement agencies in North Dakota will participate in the statewide U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign in an effort to make our roads safer by enforcing the ban on texting while driving.
Composing, reading or sending any electronic message or using a communications device to access the Internet while driving has been illegal in North Dakota for drivers of all ages since August 1, 2011, and is punishable with a fine of $100. The law applies to any driver of a vehicle in a traffic lane, even while stopped at a red light or in a construction zone.
“Distracted driving is an issue for drivers of all ages, not just young ones,” said Lt. Jeff Solemsaas of the Bismarck Police Department. “It’s important that everyone understands the importance of driving distraction-free, and that while texting and driving is the focus for this enforcement campaign, any type of distraction can be just as deadly.”
North Dakota recently expanded the texting while driving law to include distracted driving, which means any distraction that impairs the ability to safely operate the vehicle. If you’re distracted while driving and commit a traffic violation, the driver can be given a $100 citation for distracted driving. However, this enforcement period will strictly focus on texting while driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,477 people nationwide were killed and an estimated 391,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015. This was a 9 percent increase in motor vehicle fatalities due to distracted driving compared to the previous year.
Participating agencies during this heightened enforcement period include Burleigh, Morton, and Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Offices; along with Bismarck, Mandan, Fargo, NDSU, West Fargo, Jamestown, Valley City, Grand Forks, UND, Dickinson, Minot, Devils Lake and Watford City Police Departments.
This is the fourth year of added enforcement funded by federal grant dollars administered by the North Dakota Department of Transportation. The texting enforcement patrols usually coordinate multiple vehicles and trained observers who may or may not be uniformed officers to observe texting while driving violations.
View memorials on the North Dakota Crash Memorial Wall of families who have lost a loved one due to a distracted driver at ndcodefortheroad.org/memorial.