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Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signs 'hands free' cellphone bill into law

Fines for violating the law could cost drivers up to $275.

Beginning August 1, 2019, drivers will no longer be able to legally talk on a cellphone while holding it on Minnesota roads. 

Governor Tim Walz on Friday signed the "hands free" legislation into law after the House and Senate agreed on a compromise of two separate bills that aim to make Minnesota's roads safer. 

All cellphone use in a vehicle will require a hands-free device beginning Aug. 1, with a violation of the law punishable with a $50 fine for a first offense. Additional violations could lead to fines of up to $275. 

“This work has been twenty years in the making,” said the bill's chief author, Rep. Hornstein (DFL), in a statement. “The safety advocates and families of victims truly deserve all of the recognition for their hard work in getting this legislation passed. I’m glad we could make this a reality in a bipartisan, transparent way to keep all Minnesotans safe on our roadways.”

remains a huge concern for officials, with authorities handing out more than 9,500 tickets for the offense last year.In 2018, there were 27 distraction-related fatal crashes, up from 25 the year before.

Laws were already in place in Minnesota to prevent texting and using the internet while driving, although texting behind the wheel remains a huge concern for officials. Authorities handing out more than 9,500 tickets for the offense last year, when there were 27 distraction-related fatal crashes, up from 25 the year before.

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