Distracted Driving Bill Given Ceremonial Signature
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Senator Carlson (DFL-Eagan) joined local advocates and other elected officials today at a special signing ceremony of his bill cracking down on reckless driving.
As chief author of the bill during the 2015 legislative session, Sen. Carlson was responsible for shepherding the legislation through the Senate and onto the Governor’s desk for signature, though he is quick to credit partners like Minnesotans for Safe Driving, the Dakota County Attorney’s Office, and House author Rep. Garofalo, (R-Farmington).
“Without the hard work of community members and advocacy organizations, today’s ceremony wouldn’t be possible,” remarked Sen. Carlson. “Because of their efforts, the consequences for distracted driving will more closely match the dangers of that behavior.”
Under the new law, a person who knowingly violates the basic statute is guilty of a misdemeanor, while a person who violates the law and causes great bodily harm or death to another is guilty of a gross misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor is 90 days in jail and/or $1,000 fine, while a gross misdemeanor carries a penalty of one year in imprisonment and/or a $3,000 fine.
“Enhancing these penalties sends a message to everyone that this is a serious issue,” Carlson continued. “The Minnesota families who have had their lives changed forever by distracted driving deserve this change in the law. We have a responsibility to make our roads safer and save lives in the future; this bill does just that.”