Extra enforcement of texting and driving law on Minnesota roads in April

(ABC 6 News) – Hands free means hands free – except for the steering wheel – when driving.

Drivers across Minnesota will see increased enforcement of the state’s “hands free” law in April. Distracted driving is as great of a concern as impaired driving and speeding, according to the Albert Lea Police Department, which reminds drivers that holding a phone while driving is illegal.

More than 300 law enforcement agencies across the state are taking part in the April campaign which is coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety.

“Who would run through the halls of a school or a crowded store blindfolded? Only those looking to get hurt you might say,” said Albert Lea Police Department Lt. Jeff Strom. “So why would you do the same behind the wheel of a car? That’s essentially what people are doing when looking down at their phones. Enough is enough! Now is the time to change the culture, put down the phone, tune out the distractions and speak up if you see others on the road making dangerous decisions. Together we can save lives on Minnesota roads.”

Minnesota’s “no texting” law states that it’s illegal for drivers to read, send texts and emails, and access the web while the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic. That includes sitting at a stoplight or stop sign. Violations may result in a:

  • $50 fine plus court fees for a first offense.
  • $275 fine plus court fees for a second and/or subsequent offense.
  • Felony charge of criminal vehicular operation or homicide if you injure or kill someone because of texting and driving.

Distracted driving education is a component of Minnesota’s core traffic safety effort, Toward Zero Deaths (TZD). A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. 

For more on the texting and driving law, CLICK HERE.