Hands free phones for drivers is close to happening in MN

I haven’t covered this much, because it’s not very broadband-focused but it certainly is technology-related. MPR reports

The final version of a cell phone bill affecting Minnesota drivers is halfway home.

The Minnesota House voted 107-19 on Tuesday to restrict motorist phone use to hands-free mode. The Senate could vote Wednesday to send the bill to Gov. Tim Walz, who plans to sign it.

It gives law enforcement the ability to stop and ticket drivers seen holding a phone.

There are some exceptions…

The bill makes exceptions for people to use a navigation system as long as they are not holding the phone. Any programming would have to be done outside the course of traffic. People could also make calls in an emergency. It also allows people to pull off to the shoulder or, if not in an area normally used for traffic, to activate a phone feature by hand.

Acceptable workarounds would be through a speakerphone, an earbud headphone (authorities say only one ear is allowed) or by using a wireless feature built into many cars.

Some are opposed…

Opponents of the bill — all 19 who voted against that were Republicans — argued the restriction isn’t the solution that supporters are after.

Rep. Jeremy Munson, R-Lake Crystal, said text-by-voice and other wireless phone features are equally distracting for drivers.

It does make me hope that the day of driverless cars comes quickly! Or Uber for kids – because in my life kids are the biggest cause of driving and distraction!

This entry was posted in MN, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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