Publish date:

Talking on the phone while driving could be banned in Minnesota

A bill to limit cellphone use at the wheel to hands-free devices has taken the first step.
Author:

Minnesota could be heading towards a blanket ban on the use of cellphone devices while driving, with the exception of using them in "hands-free" mode.

A bill, HF50, sponsored by Rep. Frank Hornstein (D-Minneapolis), overcame its first obstacle when it was given the green light from a Minnesota House Transportation Panel on Tuesday.

If enacted, it would ban drivers from using cellphones to make a call while behind the wheel, to go along existing rules prohibiting texting, using apps and playing videos from your phone while driving.

Drivers will still be able to use their phones in hands-free mode, as well as voice-activated functions. There's also an exception for activating or deactivating a device in emergency situations.

Anyone caught making a call on their phone while driving would be liable for a fine of at least $225.

Sign up: Subscribe to our daily newsletters

Previous attempts to pass such a bill have not been successful, though the Session Daily notes that there appears to be support on both sides of the aisle this time around, with Gov. Tim Walz indicating he would sign a bill if it reaches his desk.

With around 20 percent of crashes on Minnesota's roads caused by distracted driving, which has been a factor in the deaths of an average 53 people each year recently, Hornstein told the committee hearing on Tuesday that his bill would "save lives."

A companion bill is being submitted through the Senate by Sen. Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson), which awaits its first hearing.

Next Up

rosie means - go fund me

Authorities ID woman killed by hit-and-run driver who ran red light

A fundraiser was created to support the family after the "sudden and senseless loss."

Prior Lake Football

Watch: Prior Lake stuns Rosemount with last-second hook and ladder

The Lakers dusted off an old favorite to get a victory on Thursday night.

unsplas - maple leaf frost fall lawn

MN gets its first frost advisories, freeze warnings of the season

The coldest spots could dip to below 30 degrees overnight.

Fleck

Ahead of Big Ten clash, Huskers fans spend their Friday mocking PJ Fleck

Huskers fans are in a playful mood ahead of Saturday's game.

Jamal Smith

New 1st-degree murder charge for man accused in youth coach's killing

A grand jury indicted the suspect in connection with the shooting of Jay Boughton.

trick or treating halloween

COVID: Mayo Clinic's tips for staying safe while trick-or-treating

A layered approach, especially for those who aren't vaccinated, is recommended.

Walz

'My patience level is gone': Walz calls on lawmakers to help hospital strain

The governor said only legislators can enact some of the needed measures.

landscape-g555db6b6e_1280

Jeep driver dies after hitting two deer, rolling into oncoming vehicle

As the SUV rolled, it struck another vehicle approaching the other direction.

carver county dog

Family's dog 'senselessly' killed with arrow in Carver County

The beloved dog was shot with an arrow on Tuesday.

Tim Walz - YouTube - Screengrab

COVID-19: Gov. Walz reveals new actions to ease hospital strain

He's putting the National Guard on alert and expanding the emergency staffing pool.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Golden Valley man killed by driver in Alexandria

The man was hit near the intersection of 3rd Avenue and Hawthorne Street Thursday morning.

Related

'Hands free' phone bill passes House, expected to become law this week

A compromise bill passed the Minnesota House on Tuesday.

pexels-car-phone-hands-free

Hands-free phone requirement for MN drivers is nearing reality

The Senate passed a bill requiring hands-free cellphone use.

Remember, drivers, 'slowpoke' and cellphone laws go live this week

Laws will limit cellphone use while driving and crack down on left lane "slowpokes."

NTSB urges all states to ban use of cell phones while driving

National transportation safety officials would like to see all state governments ban the use of cell phones in the driver's seat. One official called it "the new DUI." The recommendation comes after a deadly four-vehicle crash that investigators attribute to a driver who had sent 11 text messages in as many minutes just before the collision.