Hands-free phone driving bill makes progress in Legislature

A bill is making its way through the Minnesota Legislature that would ban the use of cell phones while driving, but would allow the use of a hands-free device.

The bill was heard in a Senate committee on Thursday night. Committee members attached the bill to an omnibus bill which will include other items that will be voted on by the end of the session this May.

The proposed legislation would limit the use of cell phones for phone calls, texting and social media, essentially making it illegal to interface with your phone using your hands while driving. Exceptions would include using your phone with Bluetooth or using a hands-free ear piece.

The proposed law would also allow drivers to use their phone as a GPS so long as information is entered while the car is not moving or in traffic.

Fourteen other states have similar laws on the books.

Sen. Jim Carlson, the bill’s sponsor, was hoping to get the bill to the Senate floor on its own for a vote, but says he remains optimistic. He says the larger challenge will come in the House, where there has been some pushback.