UPDATE: Walz signs bill requiring drivers to use hands-free phones

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Tim Walz has signed a bill that will require motorists to use hands-free devices to talk on the phone while driving on Minnesota roads starting Aug. 1.

At a signing ceremony Friday, Walz paid tribute to dozens of people surrounding him who lost loved ones in crashes caused by distracted drivers, saying lives will be saved because of their years of campaigning for the law.

The law bars motorists from holding and using cellphones or other wireless devices while driving. Built-in systems meet the requirements that systems be voice-activated. So do hands-free mounts sold by many retailers.

The new law marks an important bipartisan success for the Democratic governor and a Legislature divided between a Democratic-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate, where difficult fights are looming over taxes and spending.

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Gov. Tim Walz is about to sign into law a bill that will require Minnesota motorists to use hands-free devices when they’re driving while phoning.

The bill cleared its final legislative hurdle Thursday when the Senate approved compromise language 48-12. The final version dropped a provision that would have allowed for phones tucked under headware such as hijabs.

The signing ceremony is set for Friday. The law will take effect Aug. 1.

Sponsors say the experience of 16 other states and the District of Columbia with similar distracted-driving laws shows they save lives.

Minnesota already bans texting, emailing and web browsing while driving. The law will carry a $50 fine for the first violation and $275 after that.

Lawmakers are considering separate legislation to increase penalties for texting while driving.

Photo Courtesy of the Office of Governor Tim Walz
Associated Press

Associated Press

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