MN State Patrol Continues to Catch Violators of Hands-Free Law
Law enforcement officers continue to remind people that the Minnesota hands-free cell phone law went into effect in August. Some of them are frustrated that people still aren’t obeying it.
“We told people repeatedly this is coming into effect Aug. 1,” said Lt. Gordon Shank of the Minnesota State Patrol. “Practice now. Make that change now. When you see people still using their phone, it’s hard to watch. And it’s hard because when you stop the people for it and you discuss it, a lot of times it’s that simple ‘I can’t break the habit.'”
The Minnesota State Patrol pulled more than 2,100 people over in August alone for violating the hands-free law. Enforcement continues today as people keep using phones behind the wheel. Shank says law enforcement’s goal is to change people’s driving habits to make the roads safer.
“We want people to change,” Shank said. “That’s our goal. It’s not about, ‘hey, I see you on your phone let me write you a ticket.’ It’s hey, let’s change behavior so we can decrease fatalities, so we can decrease injury crashes. So people can get home safely. So we don’t have to make that visit one night or one day and say hey your family member’s gone because of someone who was distracted while they were driving using their cell phone.”
Before the hands-free law went into effect, distracted driving had tragic consequences in 2018. North Hennepin Community College teacher Robert Bursik was killed when a semi driver who was using his phone struck Bursik’s vehicle. That driver was sentenced to a year in jail this past summer.