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Minnesota latest state to ban use of hand-held cell phones while driving

Joins list of 17 states with similar bans across the country

Posted April 19, 2019

Minnesota became the 17th state in the country to ban hand-held cell-phone use while driving. Gov. Tim Walz signed the bill this week, with the law becoming effective Aug. 1, 2019.

Federal regulations already prohibit texting and hand-held cell-phone use while driving a commercial motor vehicle. But the more state laws enacted banning the process, the safer the roads become for all drivers.

The Minnesota bill bans the use of hand-held cell phones but allows use of voice-activated commands in a hands-free mode for calls and other functions like GPS navigation and music applications. The law does not apply to drivers outside of traffic or emergency situations. It also expands on current Minnesota laws banning texting, using e-mail, and browsing social media while driving.

Results of a recent study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute (IIHS) said that cell-phone manipulation was a contributing factor in more than 800 crash deaths in the country during 2017.

The list of states banning hand-held cell-phone use while driving also includes: Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, West Virginia, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Georgia, and the District of Columbia.

According to IIHS:

  • 38 states and the District of Columbia ban the use of all cell phones by novice drivers, and
  • 47 states and the District of Columbia ban text messaging for all drivers.

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