#eyesUP: Push for hands-free cell phone law in MN

There's a renewed push to enact a hands-free cell phone law in Minnesota. However, there is skepticism over whether or not this regulation would prevent more crashes.

MINNEAPOLIS - We know that distracted driving is a growing problem across the country. Many states try to curb the problem by passing laws such as banning texting while driving. Minnesota adopted that law 10 years ago and it's one of the first states to do so.

Now there's a renewed push to enact a hands-free law. But there are questions regarding its effectiveness.

Fifteen states and Washington D.C. have hands-free cell phone laws. Several more states, including Wisconsin, have partial hands-free cell phone laws. Minnesota does not and some hope that will change next year.

State Representative Frank Hornstein of Minneapolis continues to push for a hands-free law in Minnesota.
He co-authored a bill during this year's legislative session.

He had support from families, the Department of Public Safety and support from both parties, but the bill failed.

"We have to prevent these needless deaths and injuries on the roads and hands-free is a large step in doing that," he said.

But is the law effective? Vice President of Research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), Jessica Cicchino, says, likely not.

IIHS studied insurance claims from states that have hands-free laws and compared them with states that don't. It found insurances claims did not go down.

Cicchino and her team think new laws may not be the answer to preventing more crashes.

"We think technology will be a big help," she said.

Representative Hornstein remains a firm believer in hands-free law. He knows that the law won't completely take away from being distracted in a vehicle, but he says he's pushing to enact the law again next year. 

We hope you'll take the pledge to stop driving distracted. Text 'EYESUP" to 25543.

© 2017 KARE-TV


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