Local law enforcement to participate in U Drive. U Text. U Pay.

Starting Tuesday through the end of September, law enforcement agencies in North Dakota including in the local area will participate in the statewide U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign to make roads safer by enforcing the ban on texting while driving. Texting drivers are six times more likely to crash than a drunk driver.

Composing, reading or sending any electronic message or using a communications device to access the internet while driving is illegal and 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.

Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using any electronic communications device, including cell phone. For 14- and 15-year-olds, the law carries a $20 fine and 4 points on a driver’s record. For 16-and 17-year-olds, the law carries a $20 fine and no points on the driver’s record.

Cell phone operating systems Apple and Android have “do not disturb while driving” settings available to help limit distractions while driving. To learn more about how to enable these features for a phone, search “how to enable do not disturb while driving” in a person’s internet browser.

“Technology is great, but it can also be deadly,” said Minot Police Chief Jason Olson. “Use technology to keep yourself safe by downloading apps to help you drive without distraction.”

The campaign is part of the Vision Zero strategy to eliminate motor vehicle crash fatalities and serious injuries on North Dakota roads.