Netflix and chill? Sure. Netflix and driving? No!

(Valley News Live) - "A number of 911 calls coming in- a number of people being concerned about this person all over the road," says Sergeant Jesse Grabow, with the Minnesota State Patrol.

"Driving in Fargo is like A.J. Foyt on the racetrack – it's crazy out there," adds Ron Jackson, a Fargo resident.

Panic on I-94 lead to a flurry of 911 calls on Monday, October 26th after a driver was crossing lane lines, driving onto the shoulder and in and out of the grass. Eventually, the vehicle ran off the road and crashed into median cables. The culprit - distracted driving, but on a whole new level because this driver was watching Netflix.

"It did result in a crash. And the crash not only caused problems for that person, but several other people because it backed up traffic, it resulted in a secondary crash, which involved four other vehicles," Grabow says. "They did have some injuries and they were transported by ambulance."

This time, no one died - but that won't always be the case. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 3,400 people died in 2016 from distracted driving. The NHTSA also says during daylight hours, about 481,000 drivers are using their cell phones on the road - and teens were the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of deadly crashes.

"I hate to see young people die, and it's a shame that they risk their lives just for something little and insignificant," Jackson says. "There is a lot of people that take their eyes off the road for a couple of seconds – bam! It's all over with."

"Change lanes – get away from them. It's basically all you can do," says Jason Ross, who lives in Pelican Rapids.

But troopers say there is one more thing you can do.

"When you're seeing a vehicle going all over the road, people wonder, 'at what point should I call in?' Well, I say if it gets to that point where it's such a clear and present danger, where if this person continues down the road they're going to hurt themselves or they're going to hurt someone else – by all means call," says Grabow.

When you call, share as much information with law enforcement as you can, such as the vehicle's license plate number, make, model, and color - along with your location.

Because even if you can get away from the dangerous driver, others might not be so lucky.

"We can get there, hopefully intercept the driver before they result in a crash hurting themselves or somebody else," Grabow says.

"That's the most important thing – keeping people alive," Ross adds.



 
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