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Hundreds cited in first week of Minnesota's hands-free law

Here's where the citations were handed out.

Police across Minnesota issued 678 citations to drivers who fell foul of the state's new hands-free driving law in its first week.

The law came into effect on Aug. 1, banning drivers from using their phone while behind the wheel, with the exception for hands-free or voice-activated devices.

The change was made after a rise in the number of citations for distracted driving, much of which has been put down to smartphone use. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety reports citations went up from 2,177 in 2012 to 9,545 in 2018.

Of the 678 citations handed out between Aug. 1 and 7, it's no surprise that the county with the most was Hennepin, where 286 drivers received tickets.

Ramsey was the second highest with 79, followed by Dakota County with 60.

Using your phone while driving is a petty misdemeanor, carrying a $50 fine for the first violation and a $275 fine for subsequent violations.

Here's the full list of citations by county, courtesy of the DPS.

Citations by County

· Aitkin-1

· Anoka-15

· Becker-21

· Benton-2

· Beltrami-3

· Big Stone-2

· Blue Earth-8

· Carlton-1

· Carver - 17

· Cass-1

· Chisago-2

· Clay-11

· Clearwater-1

· Cottonwood-3

· Crow Wing-9

· Dakota-60

· Faribault-2

· Goodhue-1

· Hennepin-286

· Itasca-5

· Jackson-4

· Kandiyohi-3

· Lyon-2

· McLeod-5

· Meeker-3

· Morrison-4

· Nicollet-2

· Nobles-2

· Olmsted-5

· Pennington-2

· Pipesone-1

· Polk-3

· Pope-3

· Ramsey-79

· Rice-7

· Rock-4

· Scott-10

· Sherburne-6

· Sibley-1

· St. Louis-20

· Stearns-7

· Stevens-1

· Washington-24

· Winona-1

· Wright-28

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