Fines for Texting While Driving Go Up on Saturday
St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Minnesota Department of Public Safety is spreading the word about a new law that takes effect on Saturday.
The statute involves texting while driving and increases the fine from the current $50 to $225 for second and subsequent violations. The law bars drivers from reading, composing, or sending texts and emails, or accessing the Internet while the vehicle is moving or a part of traffic. Officials stress that includes waiting for stop lights or at stop signs.
“We all see it — drivers looking at their phones, drifting out of their lane, not moving when the light turns green, and seemingly oblivious to the dangers they present to themselves and others,” said Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman. “The higher penalty is designed to make motorists think twice about looking at email, texts and online activity on their phones and risk getting ticketed, or far worse, causing a crash.”
The department says statistics show, over the past 5 years, almost 20-percent of all traffic fatalities and serious injury crashes involved distracted driving. That works out to over 60 deaths and over 7000 injuries on Minnesota roads last year.
Officials also note that since the texting while driving law went into effect in 2010, the number of tickets issued for the offense have risen 278-percent to about 3200 in 2014.