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More than 1,600 Minnesota motorists cited for violating new hands-free phone law

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Posted at 8:31 PM, Aug 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-29 21:31:58-04

SAINT PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota's new hands-free phone law went into effect Aug. 1 and state troopers have already cited more than 1,600 drivers for violating it, according to a release by the Minnesota State Patrol.

Nine hundred fifty-two men and 650 women were cited between Aug. 1 and Aug. 24 for holding their devices while driving. Usages included video calling, video livestreaming, Snapchat, gaming, looking at a video or photos, using non-navigation apps, reading or responding to text messages, and phone calls, according to the Office of Traffic Safety.

The ages of the cited range from under 20 to over 60 years old. The most citations came from the 20- to 29-year range with 472. Four hundred twenty-four $50 citations were issued to drivers 30 to 39 years old. Sixty-plus drivers had 131 citations compared with 95 from the under-20 crowd.

Total citations from the Minnesota State Patrol:

• Under 20 years old: 95

• 20-29 years old: 472

• 30-39 years old: 424

• 40-49 years old: 293

• 50-59 years old: 199

• 60+ years old: 131

Thomas Goeltz lost his pregnant daughter to an alleged distracted driver in February 2016 near Stillwater, Minnesota. Goeltz spent the next three years lobbying Minnesota lawmakers to make it illegal for drivers to use a cellphone or other electronic device while behind the wheel. The new law was signed in April 2019 and took effect Aug. 1.

Goeltz is looking to bring the hands-free law to Wisconsin.