Smartphone usage while driving is becoming a concerning issue, especially in St. Cloud, with so many young drivers. Police and State Patrol are getting creative!

Not long ago I found out the hard way about checking voicemail while at a stop light in the Twin Cities, getting a ticket for distracted driving. Yes, I was stopped at a red light and seeing who called and left a message, and I got pulled over for it. Over $130 later I was on my way home.

We've all done it, peeked at our phone to see an email or social media post we were notified of, and know that is a BIG no-no. Most people look around to make sure there isn't a cop around before doing this...but you may be surprised how they still may see you.

I spoke to Sgt. Grabow from the Minnesota State Patrol today about what ways they are finding to catch people using their smartphones while driving, or while stopped in traffic.

  • Police have been riding in a school bus to easily see you.
  • Driving in unmarked vehicles that don't resemble a police car.
  • Riding undercover on horses at intersections, getting a high view of all vehicles.
  • Riding in snow plows all over Minnesota.

I'm sure there are many more ways they know to find you, but these are the top ones mentioned by Sgt. Grabow.

It's important to note that it's NOT illegal to place or receive a call while driving, unless it's causing you to have distracted and unsafe driving. That was a relief to find out. Their best advice is to just try to stay off your phone any time you are controlling a vehicle.