COLD SPRING -- Have you ever texted, changed your location on your GPS or unwrapped a sandwich while driving? If so, you were distracted behind the wheel.

Through a partnership with the Minnesota State Patrol, the Stearns County Sheriff's Office, Benton County Sheriff's Office, Milaca Police, Foley Police, St. Cloud Police and Waite Park Police, the Cold Spring and Richmond Police Department is cracking down on distracted driving on Highway 23.

More patrols will be on Highway 23 from Milaca to Richmond to help reduce the number of crashes as part of the Highway 23 Crash Reduction Initiative. Acting Cold Spring/Richmond Police Chief Jason Blum says in Cold Spring last month the city had seven crashes on its portion of Highway 23.

"Three of those included injuries four of those did not. Two of those, one the leading cause was speed the other distracted driving where the individual just drove through a red light, striking a car that was waiting to turn left. So those are some of the items we're trying to focus on to try to prevent those accidents."

Law enforcement will not only be looking for distracted drivers but people who are following the car in front of them too close, driving to fast for road conditions, speeding and drivers who are failing to yield. Blum says the goal is to educate people and if you are pulled over for one those causes you might get a ticket.

"An officer would stop you, depending on the circumstances you may receive a ticket or you may receive a little placard describing why a decision like that [distracted driving] could cause an accident."

The initiative originally spanned on Highway 23 from the Mississippi River in St. Cloud through Richmond but the section from St. Cloud to Milaca, including Foley, was recently added due to two deadly crashes happening within one week.

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