Distracted driving accounts for roughly one in four automobile accidents, and police believe that number is actually much higher because it’s so tough to prove that someone wasn’t paying attention to the road. According to the statistics, 45 deaths and 204 life-altering injuries occur each year in Minnesota as a result of distracted driving. That’s one of the biggest reasons why Minnesota recently made it illegal to use your phone while you’re driving unless it is in hands-free mode. Below, we take a closer look at distracted driving citations and penalties in Minnesota.
Minnesota Distracted Driving Crimes
Distracted driving isn’t another term for texting and driving, as there are numerous activities that can constitute distracted driving. Here are some of the more common examples:
- Excessively changing/tuning the radio.
- Programming your GPS while driving.
- Responding to email or checking Facebook or Twitter while driving.
- Reading a book while driving.
- Putting on makeup while driving.
- Fiddling with your iPod.
Those are some of the more common distracted driving traits, but any act that pulls your attention away from the road constitutes distracted driving. This means eating a cheeseburger, drinking a Pepsi or reprimanding your children in the back seat are all types of distracted driving. If an officer spots you doing any of these actions, and they have reason to believe it is endangering the safety of yourself or others on the road, they may stop you and issue you a citation.
Penalties for Distracted Driving
According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, a first offense citation for distracted driving will be $50, but that’s not the total amount you’ll pay. All citations are also subject to surcharges and fees, which will add a minimum of $75 to the ticket. In all, that will amount to at least $125 in fines. Subsequent citations will have a base amount of $275, and again they are subject to the surcharges and fees, bringing the total cost up to at least $350.
Additionally, in an effort to combat distracted driving from young drivers – the demographic most at risk – Minnesota has enacted what is known as the Novice Driver Law. This means that drivers who are under the age of 18 with a learner’s permit are prohibited from using a cell phone at all times while behind the wheel. This doesn’t just apply to texting, this covers all types of communication, including talking with the help of a hands free device.
Traffic Attorney in Stillwater, MN
If you’ve been caught texting or tweeting while driving, contact a Minnesota distracted driving attorney right away. We know the best way to fight these types of violations, and we can help ensure you keep all of your driving privileges. If you can any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation at (952) 224-2277.