Minnesota Senate Judiciary Committee To Vote On 2 Distracted Driving Bills

The stage is set for two key votes in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

One bill says only the hands-free use of a cellphone would be allowed, while another bill would dramatically increase the penalties for distracted driving.

The hands-free bill would allow a motorist to touch the screen to reset the GPS or possibly to accept a call. Republican Senate Majority leader Paul Gazelka says some form of that bill is likely to pass the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“You can still use your phone in the car and you can touch it once, like to answer, and that seemed like a good compromise,” Gazelka said. “Think that one is likely to sail through and have large bipartisan support.”

A second bill is more controversial — it would make the penalties for injuring or killing someone while using a cellphone in a distracted manner the equivalent to penalties for a DUI.