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Bill banning cell phone use except hands-free clears MN House committee; state Senate hearing Wednesday

A bill banning cell phone use while driving, except in hands-free mode gets a hearing in a Senate committee Wednesday at the State Capitol.

A similar bill passed out of a House committee Tuesday with bipartisan support. The House bill’s author, Democrat Frank Hornstein of Minneapolis called distracted driving an “epidemic” on Minnesota roads and said, “Members, if we just save one life through passage of this bill we will have done our jobs, but the data shows we’ll be saving many more than just simply one life.”

Hornstein added that in recent years there has been an average of 59 deaths and 223 serious injuries each year in Minnesota as a result of distracted driving.

That bill also had the support of Mel Simon with the Minnesota Trucking Association, who said, “What my professional drivers see every day is quite alarming. Rather than focusing on the driving task, we see people looking at their devices, even watching videos. Professional drivers say put down the phone and focus on the road.”

Texting while driving is already illegal in Minnesota.

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