Minnesota bans use of hand-held cell phones by all drivers

Under a new law that took effect in August (HF 50), drivers in Minnesota can only use voice commands or single-touch activation on their phones to make calls and texts. Violators of the state’s “hands-free” statute will be ticketed $50, plus court fees; the penalty is $275 for repeat violations. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 18 other states, including Illinois in the Midwest, have hands-free bans in place. In each of these states, the use of a hand-held cell phone is a primary offense, meaning a police officer can cite a driver for it without any other traffic offense taking place.

Every state in this region has laws that ban all use of cell phones by some or all novice drivers. In addition, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Nebraska prohibit all cell phone use by school bus drivers, and Wisconsin has a hand-held ban that applies in roadwork zones. Every Midwestern state also outlaws text-messaging by drivers.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a total of 34,247 fatal crashes occurred in the United States in 2017. Of those crashes, 1.2 percent involved cell phone use as a distraction. Twenty-six percent of these crashes were speeding-related, and 29 percent involved alcohol impairment.


Stateline Midwest: September 20192.66 MB