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What are the texting and driving laws in Minnesota?

With the start of the new year, Minnesota residents may have made many resolutions, and are hopefully still sticking to them. One of the resolutions they should consider making and fulfilling is to stop using the cellphone while driving, even if it isn't necessarily illegal.

There is no law forbidding cellphone use while driving in Minnesota, except when one is the driver is of a school bus, commercial vehicle or the driver is a novice. A novice is defined as a driver under the age of 18 with a learner's permit or an intermediate license. Other than this, there is no law against using a hand-held cellphone while driving.

However, it is a different story with texting and driving. All drivers in the state are forbidden from texting while operating a motor vehicle. The law covers sending an electronic message; this includes, but is not limited to, emails, instant messages, text messages, a command or even a request to access a web page. This prohibition applies not only when a vehicle is in motion, but also when the vehicle is a part of traffic. Electronic messages do not include voice calls or voice activated modes.

According to the Office of Traffic Safety in Minnesota, distracted or inattentive driving causes one in four car crashes in the state. This means 70 deaths and around 350 injuries each year might be attributed to such causes. Using the phone while driving is just one of the reasons a driver may be distracted. Despite the known risk of using a cellphone while driving, many drivers still engage in this activity and end up injuring someone else in a crash. Minnesota residents may be able to hold the distracted driver accountable for his or her actions through a personal injury lawsuit.

Source: Driving Laws, Minnesota Text Messaging and Cell Phone laws Accessed on January 12, 2015

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