A bill introduced in the Minnesota Legislature would require
drivers in the state to keep their hands off their phones.
Sponsored by Rep. Mike Jaros, DFL-Duluth, the proposal would
ban hand-held cell phone use while driving. Talking on a phone equipped with a “hands-free” device would still be permitted.
The bill would exempt emergency calls.
The devices’ use is frequently blamed for distracting
drivers and leading to accidents.
Jaros cited a 1997 study by the New England Journal of
Medicine showing drivers chatting on cell phones were four times more
likely to be in a collision – about the same as the increase caused by drunken
AAA opposes laws
restricting cell-phone use by drivers. The automotive association recommends
that drivers avoid “emotional or complicated phone conversations.” AAA cites
the safety benefits of a cell phone in the vehicle in its reasoning for
Currently, New York and New Jersey have the only statewide
laws restricting cell phone use in vehicles. Several states, however, are
expected to address the issue in the coming months.
A spokesman for Gov. Tim Pawlenty recently told The
Associated Press the governor feels inattentive driving, such as cell phone
use, is a serious concern, and he will be working with public safety officials
to find ways for people to take it more seriously.
HF18 is in the House Transportation Committee.