Starting on August 1st, Minnesota drivers will be legally restricted from hands-on phone use behind the wheel and must instead employ hands-free devices.
The law restricts almost all hand-held phone use, including texting, calling, looking at pictures, and using apps. Hand-held phone use is allowed if the driver is utilizing a navigation app. Otherwise, only hands-free calling and voice-activated phone use is permitted. Drivers who wish to listen to music or podcasts from their phone must activate the controls via voice or start the audio before they begin driving.
Drivers who violate the new law can receive a ticket if they are seen holding their phone behind the wheel. A ticket for a first-time offense will cost $50, but the addition of court fees could incur fines totaling over $100. Consecutive tickets could cost around $275, as well as the cost of court fees. Minnesota drivers could potentially face consequences for other instances of distracted driving such as eating, drinking, or paying attention to a pet, however, phone use is the main focus of this law.
The Minnesota legislature previously declined to restrict phone use while driving, despite the volume of support from residents. A bill similar to the one that will take effect on August 1st of this year failed in the state House of Representatives in 2018. Before the restrictive laws were passed, consequences for distracted driving were not as strictly enforced as they are expected to be beginning on August 1st.
Hopefully, the stricter laws will decrease the prevalence of distracted driving on Minnesota’s roads. Distracted driving is one of the top causes of car accidents nationally. If you were injured in a collision that was caused by the negligence of another driver, contact Meshbesher & Associates, P.A.