Fines for texting and driving to rise for repeat offenders

by Elizabeth Smith

A new law will take effect Saturday to increase fines for drivers who are caught texting two or more times, WCCO reported.


The fine for first time offenders will remain at $50, but repeat offenders will receive a $275 fine, the Star Tribune reported.


Sponsor of the law, DFL Rep. Frank Hornstein, said the total cost the ticket could reach $345 due to court costs, the Pioneer Press reported.


According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, in the past five years, 19 percent of serious injuries and traffic fatalities were a result of distracted drivers, WCCO reported.


This totals to 61 deaths and more than 7,000 injuries on Minnesota roads in 2014, the Pioneer Press reported.


It is against the law in Minnesota to read, compose or send texts and emails, and access the web while the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic.


That includes while a vehicle is stopped at a light or stop sign, the Star Tribune reported.


It is also illegal to use the speak function for texting, WCCO reported.