Hands-Free Bill Clears Committee

Hands-Free Bill Clears Committee Click to Enlarge Photo: Associated Press

(KNSI) - A bill that would outlaw handheld cellphone use while driving cleared a hurdle in St. Paul on Tuesday.

The Public Safety and Security Policy and Finance committee in the Minnesota House voted to advance the bill, marking the first time in four years of trying that the bill got out of committee.

The bill requires drivers to use only hands-free devices when behind the wheel.

The fine would be $50 for the first offense and $225 for future offenses.

Texting while driving is already illegal.

The effort to pass the bill comes as the Minnesota Department of Public Safety recently reported that distracted driving is on the rise.

Last year, texting while driving tickets increased by 23 percent.

And state officials say, from 2012 to 2016, distracted driving contributed to an average of 59 deaths and more than 200 serious injuries annually on Minnesota roads.

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