In October 2018 Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson proposed several measures to toughen distracted driving laws in Minnesota.

Among those changes: requiring hands-free cellphone use while driving, increasing penalties for texting while driving, and suspending driver’s licenses of repeat offenders.

Current Minnesota Distracted Driving law include the following:

Texting and Web Access: Pursuant to Minnesota Traffic Laws, Minnesota Statute 169.475. it is illegal for drivers of all ages to compose, read, or send electronic messages or access the Internet on a wireless device when the vehicle use in motion or part of traffic. This includes being stopped in traffic or at a traffic signal light. This law does not apply to devices that are permanently affixed to the vehicle or global positioning our navigational systems.

Cell Phone Use and Texting: Pursuant to Minnesota Traffic Laws, Minnesota Statute 171.05, it is illegal for drivers under the age of 18 to use a cell phone, whether handheld or hands-free, except to call 911 in an emergency.

In a news release Attorney General Swanson said “We need to change the culture around distracted driving and make it not be OK for people to do this,” adding “We should apply some of the successful drunken driving reform measures to distracted driving, which has become an epidemic on the roads.”

Distracted driving is a deadly behavior causing many deaths and serious injuries. Federal studies suggested distracted driving contributes to approximately 5000 wrongful deaths every year on our nation’s highways.