Minnesota state patrol issues hundreds of hands-free citations

Minnesota State Patrol issued around 500 citations and warnings.

Posted: Aug 9, 2019 10:28 PM
Updated: Aug 10, 2019 10:43 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn.-It’s been more than a week for drivers to get used to the new hands-free law.

It makes it illegal to hold a phone in your hand while behind the wheel. Within the first 36 hours of the law taking effect, Minnesota troopers say they stopped more than 160 drivers for violating the new mandate.

“I've heard a lot of people that've gotten pulled over,” said one driver.

It's also illegal to video call or stream, Snapchat, read texts or use non-navigation apps while driving. The Minnesota State Patrol issued around 500 citations and warnings. They say most knew about the law and failed to comply. Before the new law went into effect, state and local leaders urged people to put down their phones.

“We want our roadways, our users of our roadways, to stay safe, stay alive and arrive at their destination safely,” said RPD Police Chief Jim Franklin.

“This just needs to become second nature,” said Governor Tim Walz.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says texting citations increased 30% from 2017 to 2018. Sam Connelly believes the new hands-free law is working.

“I’ve definitely slowed down on texting and driving just because of the laws,” he said.

Law enforcement says there is no grace period. If you're pulled over for (not driving hands free you can get a ticket ranging between 50 to 200dollars.

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