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New law hits texting violators in Minnesota

Posted in Crime Prevention August 4th, 2008 @ 11:07 am

Effective August 1, 2008, it is illegal on Minnesota roads to text message, email or access the Web on a wireless device while driving. This new law is considered as a primary offense, which means law enforcement can stop a motorist if they observe the motorist violating the law.

Actually, the law goes even further. If you are operating a motor vehicle, using a wireless communication device to write, read or send an electronic message you can be pulled over and fined up to $300. This applies to drivers of all ages.

This law came about through a study of fatal crashes during the years 2005 through 2007. The study showed that at least 15% of all fatal crashes and 240 traffic deaths occurred because the driver was distracted while texting, emailing or using a wireless device to communicate. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distraction is a major factor in about 25 percent of all crashes.

Since 2006, cell phone use for teen drivers with a provisional license was completely prohibited by law. With this new law, teen drivers cannot text their friends while driving. According to an informal DPS Minnesota teen driving survey, teen respondents said texting was their biggest distraction while driving and the “most unsafe” behavior their friends engaged in while driving.

Texting when driving does not make you a criminal, but not texting while driving will save your life.

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