MINNESOTA HANDS FREE LAW - EFFECTIVE AUGUST 1ST, 2019
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota safety officials are redoubling their efforts to make drivers aware of a state law that takes effect Aug 1 requiring that motorists use hands-free devices while phoning on the road.
Department of Public Safety officials told reporters Thursday they want to make sure every Minnesotan knows what they can and can’t do before the requirement takes effect in just over a month. Over 1.5 million people have visited a special website so far to learn about how to comply. And the department is conducting a statewide awareness campaign.
Col. Matt Langer of the Minnesota State Patrol says drivers can use their phones as long as it’s in hands-free mode. But he cautions that hands-free doesn’t mean distraction-free, and drivers should devote 100% of their attention to driving. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE.
JUSTICE4KATIE is a non-profit movement dedicated to making changes, creating awareness, and continuing to honor and remember our beloved Katie Burkey.
Distracted driving is avoidable and has the ability to destroy lives.
JUSTICE4KATIE urges all drivers to do one simple thing - Pay Attention and Just Drive!
Share our vision to stop the distraction
Distracted driving is an avoidable epidemic and, as an organization, we are guided by our mission to push for change in the standards for criminal vehicular charges and hold distracted drivers accountable for their actions. According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, over the last five years (2013-2017) distracted driving was a contributing factor in one in five crashes, resulting in an average of 53 deaths and 216 serious injuries each year. Due to the challenge in determining distraction as a crash factor, the Department of Traffic Safety estimates these numbers are under-reported.
Progress is being made and after years-long effort, the distracted driving bill (HF50) cleared the House on March 18th, 2019. If signed into law, the bill would make Minnesota the 18th state to require hands-free cell phone use while driving. The HF50 Bill is summarized as, "Cell phone use prohibited by person operating a vehicle while vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic, traffic stop study required, report required, and money appropriated.”
“Tonight we do have a chance to save lives and at its core, that’s what this legislation is all about.” Rep. Frank Hornstein, Sponsor of the HF50 Bill
On September 6th, 2017, Katie Burkey died tragically when a semi side dumper plowed into her vehicle at highway speed. An eye witness claims the semi-truck driver was driving erratically and, according to the Minnesota State Patrol investigation, the trucker’s rig was thousands of pounds overweight but the driver accused of causing the crash did not face felony charges. According to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, the driver’s behavior didn't reach the threshold known as "gross negligence" and thus declined to press felony charges.
According to the Star Tribune, texting while driving citations jumped 30 percent in Minnesota.
Bills banning the use of hand-held phones passed committees this week in both the House and Senate. A second bill that would raise fines for violators also passed a Senate committee this week.
By Tim Harlow Star Tribune | January 24, 2019
JUSTICE4KATIE rally held at the Minnesota State Capital to bring awareness to distracted driving. Katie didn’t get justice from the system when she was killed by a distracted driver. Let’s help make sure this doesn’t happen to other innocent people. The laws need changing!
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A tribute for Katie Burkey…
Katie was a beautiful, life loving, bright, athletic, warm, family orientated, giving, and the most amazing daughter anyone would have been extremely proud to have. Her short 22 years on this earth were filled with her selfless act to others, cherishing time with family and friends, and lighting up a room with her energy and loud, yet absolutely beautiful, laughter. Katie left this world far too early at the hands of an irresponsible driver. Our family is taking on the fight to change laws that may hopefully save families from going through the same horrific heartache.
Although Katie’s life could have been so many brilliant things, her legacy may be one of changing laws to make the roads safer for other people. As she gave herself so selflessly to others here on this earth, she will do the same in heaven.
Katie we love and miss you dearly, but will see you again one day.