Legislators Aim to Tackle Distracted Driving, Facing Pushback From Libertarian and Conservative Groups

Minnesota legislators are tackling the issue of distracted driving by increasing penalties and requiring the use of a hands-free device. The proposed bills come with some pushback and questions about the viability of such a law.

via Minnesota Senate Republicans

Minnesota legislators are tackling the issue of distracted driving by increasing penalties. The bipartisan bills encourage the use of hands-free devices and holds drivers more accountable for texting while driving. The bill has received some pushback from conservatives saying that it infringes on personal freedom while simultaneously not achieving its desired purpose.

The push for this began in the early stages of the legislative session and since then, many Minnesota families have come to testify in committee about losing their loved ones to distracted driving. Distracted driving is a factor in about 1 in 5 crashes in Minnesota.

Legislators are looking to enact legislation that requires the use of a hands-free device when using a cellphone in the car to help combat this. “We’re really putting a lot of pressure on people to stop using your phone while you’re driving — at least in your hand” Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R- Nisswa) said. However new research has proven, according to the safety council, “voice-to-text is more distracting than typing texts by hand.”

Jake Duesenberg, President of Action4Liberity told Alpha News that the proposed legislation will likely hurt “poorer working people who use cell phones as a tool for commerce, but are unable to afford vehicles equipped with hands-free devices.” Regardless, legislators believe that “with fatalities related to distracted driving increasing at an alarming rate, [they] can no longer afford to sit around and do nothing,” as Representative Bob Dettmer (R- Forest Lake) said.

“Distracted driving is already illegal and that’s what the focus should remain on.” Duesenberg told Alpha News as he expressed that legislators appear to just be pretending to solve an issue when these laws will just “extract more money from family budgets to apply to wasteful government programs.”

Additionally, Republican Liberty Caucus of Minnesota, which is an official affiliate of the Republican Party of Minnesota has come out against this bill.

See the press release below


Megan Olson

Megan Olson is a 2020 graduate of the University of Minnesota with degrees in political science and history. She works in public affairs in addition to serving on the Legislative Advisory Council for School District 196. She is also on the school board for FIT academy, a charter school in Apple Valley.