What's the law on texting while driving?

Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
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Dear Trooper Kathy: What is the new law about texting while driving and what is the penalty?

Trooper Kathy Says: The new law is a petty misdemeanor and one can be fined up to $300.


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.

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.

Subd. 3.Exceptions.

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

• solely in a voice-activated or other hands-free mode;

• for making a cellular phone call;

• 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;

• in the reasonable belief that a person's life or safety is in immediate danger; or

• in an authorized emergency vehicle while in the performance of official duties.

If you have any questions regarding traffic safety and/or traffic laws, please e-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Sgt. Pederson will not offer advice on specific situations or real events, which involve law enforcement.