Minnesota could ban handheld cellphone use while driving

A bipartisan bill was heard this week that would prohibit the use of cellphones while driving except for the use of a hands-free device. The bill also makes it a primary offense, so if a law enforcement officer sees someone breaking this law they can pull the driver over. According to the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety, each year in Minnesota, distracted or inattentive driving is a factor in one in four crashes, resulting in at least 70 deaths and 350 serious injuries. Bill supporters are hoping to promote safer driving habits and reduce avoidable injuries and deaths.

Minnesota would join 14 other states and the District of Columbia in banning hand-held cellphone use while driving.

Minnesota is already one of 46 states to ban texting while driving. Devices that are exclusively for navigational purposes will be exempt from the hands-free ban as are first responders and someone contacting emergency assistance. (SF 837)