Local Lawmakers Support Hands-Free Bill
Update: House Approves Hands-Free Bill
A hands-free cellphone bill that would impact millions of Minnesota drivers now moves to a vote in the Republican-led Senate. The House overwhelmingly approved the measure Monday night.
Using a cell phone in your car or truck may soon become illegal in the state of Minnesota. Pending “hands-free” legislation could impact millions of Minnesota drivers.
DFL lawmakers and other Minnesotans met Monday at the Capitol pushing the hands-free bill.
“Saying to Minnesotans you can’t hold your phone in your hand while you’re driving, whether you’re texting, which is already illegal, or dialing a call, that would be something new that would be against the law,” said House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park. “What we’re saying is we want your cellphone not in your hand while you’re driving to minimize its distraction to you as a driver.”
Touching your smartphone to plug in GPS or map data while driving on your would also be illegal under the House version. Drivers should set up their navigation system before putting the vehicle in drive.
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At the news conference in St. Paul, Hortman said she believes the House bill is well constructed. She says distracted driving is a huge problem in Minnesota and across the nation.
“There’s a fine system and really there is value in saying that this is against the law,” Hortman said. “So people know what the standard is that need to live up to.”
The penalty for driving with a cell phone in your hand would be a $225 fine. A separate bill would make certain cell phone-related crashes are a felony if injury or death occurs.
Currently 16 states and Washington, D.C., already have a hands-free bill.