By Pat Kessler

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s the end of the road for a bill that would prevent distracted driving in Minnesota.

Safety officials say about 70 people die on Minnesota highways every year from distracted driving.

Sixteen states have already banned using hand-held cell phones on the road.

There are plenty of votes to pass the hands-free driving bill in the Republican-controlled House, but many of those votes would have to come from Democrats.

House leaders say they won’t bring up the bill unless a majority of the votes come from Republicans.

The bill would ban hand-held phones while driving, but would allow voice activated cell phones.

You could also use a mounted cell-phone on the dashboard for GPS maps.

The bill’s author was frustrated Tuesday, saying that “politics” killed the bill.

“I believe there are certain people who believe it is an infringement on the personal lives,” said Rep. Mark Uglem (R – Champlin). “Now, this is only my opinion, but, you know what, I believe it is an infringement on my personal rights not to have safe roads to drive on, because we have people not only texting, but they are Snapchatting, they are Facebooking, they’re booking reservations for dinner, they’re trading stocks. It’s incredible!”

There’s no action on this bill the Minnesota Senate either. Senate leaders says it needs “more study.”

For the record: This has been an issue at the Legislature for almost a decade.

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