Archived Story

Minnesota’s ‘No Texting’ Law

Published 7:09am Monday, April 28, 2014 Updated 9:09am Monday, April 28, 2014

In Minnesota, it is illegal for drivers to read, compose or send texts/emails, as well as access the web on a wireless device while the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic — including at a stoplight/stop sign or stopped in traffic.

It also is illegal for drivers under age 18 to use a cell phone at any time.

Minnesota’s “no texting” law was enacted in August 2008, and citations have increased each year:

• 2009 – 388

• 2010 – 847

• 2011 – 1,270

• 2012 – 1,718

• 2013 -  2,189

Driver distractions go beyond texting. Daydreaming/taking mind off driving; reaching for items; manipulating radio/music/vehicle controls; eating/drinking; dealing with rowdy passengers and grooming all can be driver distractions.

Tips to minimize distractions

• Cell phones — Turn off cell phones or place them out of reach to avoid the urge to dial/answer or read or send a text.

If a passenger is present, ask them to handle calls/texts.

• Music and other controls — Pre-program radio stations and arrange music in an easy-to-access spot. Adjust mirrors and AC/heat before traveling or ask a passenger to assist.

• Navigation — Designate a passenger to help with directions. If driving alone, map out destinations in advance and pull over to study a map or program GPS.

• Eating and drinking — Avoid foods and beverages when driving (especially messy foods) and have others’ drinks secured.

• Children — Teach children the importance of good behavior in a vehicle; do not underestimate how distracting it can be to tend to children while driving.

• Passengers should speak up to stop drivers from distracted driving behavior.

• If making/receiving a call to/from someone driving, ask them to call back when they are not driving.

 

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