Troy Christianson

Drivers under 18 years of age cannot use cell phones while vehicles are in traffic

As a Trooper

Question:  With all this attention to distracted driving recently, I know that a person can talk on a cell phone while driving if they are 18 years or older. I understand that it is illegal for anyone under that age to be on a cell phone.  Does that apply to a hands-free device such as a blue tooth?

Answer:  Anyone under 18 years of age may NOT operate a vehicle while using a cell phone whether handheld or hands free, when the vehicle is in motion — this includes while stopped at a stop sign, stoplight or anytime the vehicle is in traffic.

A driver with a provisional license may use a cell phone to call 911 in case of an emergency. The exception of “obtaining emergency assistance” is quite limited in my professional opinion. Calling “911” would be a good example. Calling Mom and Dad to let them know that you are running late should be done before you put the vehicle in motion.

I believe distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic plaguing our roadways and our statistics are reflecting it. Distracted driving contributes to one in four crashes in Minnesota. Ask yourself what was the most important text message you ever sent or received. Now ask yourself, is that text worth your life or another life on the road?

Distracted driving education is a component of Minnesota’s core traffic safety program, Toward Zero Deaths (TZD). A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior.

Help us put an end to distracted driving. Before you get in the car, put away the phone, adjust your radio and enter your location into your GPS. If you’re a passenger, speak up if someone drives distracted. The life you save may be your own.

If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol, at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester, Minnesota 55901-5848, or reach him at Troy.Christianson@state.mn.us

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