MN Gov. Walz Signs Hands-Free Driving Bill
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signs a bill banning the use of hand-held cellphones will driving that will take effect August 1st.
At a signing ceremony Friday, Walz paid tribute to dozens of people surrounding him who lost loved ones in crashes caused by distracted drivers, saying lives will be saved because of their years of campaigning for the law.
The bipartisan measure requires drivers to be hands-free, but allows voice-activated commands for calls and other functions like GPS and apps. The law doesn’t apply to drivers in emergencies. State law already bans texting or using the internet while driving.
Fines are $50 for the first offense and $275 for subsequent offenses.
“Many of the families who have been affected by distracted driving, and who have been tirelessly advocating for this law, are the reason we’re here today,” Governor Walz said. “Minnesotans deserve safe roads and this bipartisan bill helps prevent senseless accidents and improves our public safety.”
“The safety of our roads and drivers is a priority and this long-needed ‘hands-free’ law will reduce the number of fatalities and injuries that are caused by distracted driving,” Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan said. “This is a public safety issue that folks have been able to come together around, and we are proud to support measures that will save lives and reduce the risk of motor vehicle accidents.”
Minnesota joins 16 other states and the District of Columbia in banning handheld cell phone use while driving.