Proposal to save lives advances in legislative process
St. Paul, Minn. – Senator Jim Carlson (DFL-Eagan) today announced that his hands-free cell phone legislation (Senate File 837) was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee with unanimous support. The proposal is intended to slow the growing loss of life in Minnesota due to distracted driving.
Sen. Carlson’s bill allows for the use of a device while driving, but only in a hands-free mode. Devices that are exclusively for navigational purposes will be exempt from the hands-free ban, as are first responders and someone contacting emergency assistance.
“This is an issue I have been working on for years, and I’m very pleased that it passed the Judiciary Committee with unanimous bipartisan support,” said Sen. Carlson. “Every day, more and more people are exposed to the dangers of distracted driving. My bill will spur education efforts and aid law enforcement to begin to get the problem under control and reduce the number of tragedies on the road.”
Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen, a Republican co-author on the bill, reflected the unanimous support of the committee: “Thank you, Senator Carlson, for bringing this forward. It has my full support.”
According to the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety, distracted or inattentive driving is a factor in one in four crashes, resulting in at least 70 deaths and 350 serious injuries each year. Minnesota would join 14 other states and the District of Columbia in banning hand-held cellphone use while driving.