MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A new law will hit Minnesota drivers in their wallets if they text and drive.
Starting Saturday, drivers could face a $225 fine for texting behind the wheel.READ MORE: St. Paul Police Report Rapid Increase Of Overdoses, Warn Of Synthetic Opioids
As it stands now, if drivers text and drive they receive a $50 fine.
The new law will slap drivers with a $225 fine for the second violation and subsequent violations of the texting and driving law, in addition to the $50 fine.
According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, over the last five years in Minnesota 19 percent of all traffic fatalities and serious injuries were distraction-related.
The agency also reported that driver inattention or distraction was the number one contributing factor in multiple vehicle crashes in 2014.READ MORE: 'It Was Just Nuts': Severe Storms Leave Residents With Damage, Debris, And Outages
Matt Riggs, who lost his brother, David, to a texting driver in 2013, spoke during a press conference on Thursday.
“When I found that David was not going to wake up that day, that was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through in my entire life,” he said.
The use of smart phones has made the rules of the texting and driving tricky.
Police say if you use the speak the text function on your phone, that is still considered texting.MORE NEWS: Crews Battle Fire In Northeast Minneapolis
This bottom line is that you can be ticketed for any part of distracted driving that takes your attention away from the road.