Cell Phone and Texting

It’s illegal for drivers under age 18 to use a cell phone, whether hand-held or hands-free – except to call 911 in an emergency.
It’s illegal for drivers of all ages to compose, read, or send text messages or access the Internet while the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic.

169.475 USE OF WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS DEVICE.

Subdivision 1.Definition.

For purposes of this section, “electronic message” means a self-contained piece of digital communication that is designed or intended to be transmitted between physical devices. An electronic message includes, but is not limited to, e-mail, a text message, an instant message, a command or request to access a World Wide Web page, or other data that uses a commonly recognized electronic communications protocol. An electronic message does not include voice or other data transmitted as a result of making a phone call, or data transmitted automatically by a wireless communications device without direct initiation by a person.

Subd. 2.Prohibition on use; penalty.

(a) No person may operate a motor vehicle while using a wireless communications device to compose, read, or send an electronic message, when the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic.

(b) A person who violates paragraph (a) a second or subsequent time must pay a fine of $225, plus the amount specified in the uniform fine schedule established by the Judicial Council.

Subd. 3.Exceptions.

This section does not apply if a wireless communications device is used:

(1) solely in a voice-activated or other hands-free mode;

(2) for making a cellular phone call;

(3) for obtaining emergency assistance to (i) report a traffic accident, medical emergency, or serious traffic hazard, or (ii) prevent a crime about to be committed;

(4) in the reasonable belief that a person’s life or safety is in immediate danger; or

(5) in an authorized emergency vehicle while in the performance of official duties.

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