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Cell Phone Usage
Updated On: Feb 19, 2018
~~By David Montgomery | Pioneer Press
PUBLISHED: February 6, 2017 at 4:09 pm | UPDATED: February 7, 2017 at 5:59 pm
Minnesota could be about to clamp down even more on mobile phone use while driving.
Several state lawmakers are proposing a ban on all cellphone use while driving, except in hands-free mode.
“Constituents tell us, and the data affirms, that we’re seeing more and more accidents as a result of distracted driving,” said Rep. Frank Hornstein, the Minneapolis Democrat who’s co-authoring the bill with Champlin Republican Rep. Mark Uglem. “We know that we’re going to save lives and prevent injuries with this type of legislation.”
If passed, Minnesota would join 14 other states and Washington, D.C. that currently have a “hands free” law, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
A map showing which states have bans on all handheld device usage while driving, created by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Minnesota has banned texting while driving since 2008, when it was the third statewide ban in the country. Now all but four U.S. states have similar texting bans.
When debating the texting ban in 2008, lawmakers considered going further and banning handheld calls while driving as well. The final version barred only texting, browsing and other similar uses.
Minnesota, like many states without a total ban on handheld device use while driving, currently has such a ban for novice drivers.
If it becomes law, the ban on handheld device usage would take effect July 1 and would have the same penalties as Minnesota’s texting ban: $50 for a first offense and an additional $225 for subsequent offenses. As initially proposed, it would have several exceptions, including for emergency use and for devices permanently affixed to cars, Hornstein and Uglem said.
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