MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s been one year since Minnesota’s hands-free law went into effect, and this week traffic officials are reminding drivers not to fall back into bad habits.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation says there’ll be extra hands-free and distracted driving enforcement through Saturday, with the goal of getting drivers to put down their phones.
According to the department, more than 19,000 drivers in Minnesota have been cited for not complying with the hands-free law since it went into effect. A majority of the drivers cited were between 21 and 40 years old.
Still, the law might be contributing to a drop in distraction-related road fatalities, as the percentage of distraction-related deaths in the last year is down 4% relative to the year before. Officials have also reported seeing more drivers using phone holders in their cars.
Consequences for not following the hands-free law include initial fines and fees upwards of $120, with subsequent violations bringing the cost to more than $300. Those who hurt or kill someone while distracted driving face possible charges of criminal vehicular operation or homicide.