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More than 1,900 cited in Minnesota during texting while driving campaign

ST. PAUL - With Minnesota's new hands-free cellphone law going into effect in less than three months, state officials are still saying far too many drivers are using their devices behind the wheel.

Law enforcement cited 1,927 motorists for texting and driving during a three-week enforcement period that ended April 30, compared with 1,576 during last year's two-week campaign, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said.

Police shared examples of a 44-year-old male driver in Grand Marais watching a video his wife sent to him of their twins, a 32-year-old female driver watching "Parks and Rec" in Blaine and an 18-year-old female going 96 mph using FaceTime near St. Peter.

The DPS said texting citations climbed 30% from 2017 to 2018 with 9,545 cited in 2018.

The new law, which goes into effect Aug. 1, allows a driver to use their cell phone to make calls, text, listen to music or podcasts and get directions, but only by voice commands or single-touch activation without holding the phone.

See HandsFreeMN.org for more information about the new law.

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