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Minnesota to increase distracted driving enforcement throughout April

Apr 01, 2022 06:45AM ● By Editor
From KSTP-TV • March 31, 2022

Law enforcement across the state will be on the lookout for distracted driving all of next month.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says the effort is to increase awareness about dangerous driving behaviors and get drivers to avoid those behaviors.

From 2017 to 2021, distracted driving contributed to more than 39,000 crashes, as well as an average of 28 deaths and 161 serious injuries per year, the DPS says.

“It doesn’t take much for the life story of a distracted driver to end, just like that, or end the life stories of other people on the road,” Mike Hanson, the DPS Office of Traffic Safety director, said in a statement. “It can end the second they text with the phone in their hand, are lost in thought and not focused on driving, or take their eyes off the road to reach for something. Park the phone, avoid distractions and pay attention. That’s the way to drive smart and keep yourself and others safe and alive.”

DPS reminded Minnesotans the state’s hands-free cellphone law means drivers can’t hold a phone while driving — only single-touch or voice commands are allowed. Violations of the law cost $50 for the first offense, not including any potential court fees, and more than $300 for subsequent offenses.

The law also states you can’t do the following, even in hands-free mode, according to the DPS: 

  • Searching information on a device
  • Checking scores
  • Streaming videos
  • Acessing or posting to social media

However, the agency says a driver can use voice commands or single-touch activation without holding a phone to do the following, under the current law: 

  • Make a call
  • Text
  • Listen to music or podcasts
  • Get directions
To see the original report and read related stories, follow this link to the KSTP-TV website.
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