Maybe this wouldn’t be so noticeable..if it was unmarked. Funny, isn’t it? It’s too bad the MSP doesn’t address abuses by their own but buy unmarked cars to catch you.

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Minnesota State Patrol adds unmarked cars to fight distracted driving
By Don Davis, Forum News Service Today at 1:54 p.m.

ST. PAUL — Distracted drivers attract the full attention of the Minnesota State Patrol.

Five new unmarked cars were added to the patrol fleet Monday so troopers can better find distracted drivers, such as those using mobile telephones and not paying as much attention to the roads as they should. Patrol officials say the unmarked cars will help save lives and protect motorists.

“Admittedly, it allows us to be a little bit more sneaky while we are on patrol,” Patrol Chief Col. Matt Langer said Monday.

The five unmarked cars, to replace marked ones, help because “the public is less sure of when they can get away with it,” the chief added.

Langer said more unmarked cars could enter the fleet when marked cars are retired.

The new car purchases announced Monday replace cars that are being taken off the road and will be used by existing troopers as their main patrol cars. They will be in the Brainerd, Mankato, Marshall and Twin Cities districts; the patrol continues to drive other unmarked cars around the state.

In 2014, the patrol reported, driver inattention contributed to 61 deaths and more than 7,000 injuries on Minnesota roads. Distracted driving has been a factor in one of four traffic accidents in recent years.

In the last three months, the Minnesota State Patrol has investigated at least two deadly crashes where driver distraction was suspected.

So far this year, the patrol has stopped 3,467 drivers for doing things like texting or surfing the Web. It is illegal to do such things while behind the wheel, even if stopped in traffic.

An “incredible uptake” in smartphones and other technological devices has made distracted driving more common, Langer said.

Texting is the most-discussed form of distracted driving, but Langer said it also includes eating, dealing with children and “anything that diverts your attention away from driving.”

If someone dies in an accident caused by texting and driving, a felony charge of criminal vehicular operation, or even homicide, may be filed.

The patrol hopes unmarked vehicles will convince people who engage in distracted driving to be more attentive because they never will know when a trooper is watching.

Langer said not only do law enforcement officers want stop distracted driving around the state, but so does the public.

“Distracted driving, primarily texting while driving, is something the public is harping on us about,” the patrol chief said. “We want to public to know that we take this seriously.”

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