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Minnesota lawmakers introduce ‘Hands-Free’ cell phone legislation

(St. Paul, MN) – A bipartisan bill introduced in the state legislature would make it illegal to use a cell phone for any purpose while driving.

Chairmen of their respective transportation committees, Sen. Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson) and Rep. Frank Hornstein (D-Minneapolis) introduced hands-free cell phone legislation that would prohibit cell phone usage outside of one-touch communications.  Similar laws are on the books in sixteen states and Washington D.C.

The proposed legislation would require drivers to use their cell phones in a hands-free mode.  Voice-activated calls or other actions and functions that require a single touch to activate – including navigation or playing music – would be allowed.  Drivers that were safely parked away from traffic, or using their phones for emergencies would be exempt from the hands-free requirement.

“The ‘hands-free’ bill isn’t about restricting liberties; it’s about public safety,” said Newman.  “We’re sending a message to drivers across Minnesota: get off your phone and focus on the road.  Life depends on it.”

Current law bans emailing, texting, and using a web browser while driving.  The ‘hands-free’ proposal would enact the same penalties for using a cell phone outside of hands-free mode.

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