MOORHEAD — On the first day of the new hands-free cellphone law in Minnesota, the Moorhead police were "extremely surprised" how drivers were obeying the new law, according to police spokesman Capt. Deric Swenson.

"We thought there would be more of a culture shock," Swenson said.

Police stopped 18 drivers for having their cellphones in their hands on Thursday, Aug. 1, but wrote only two tickets.

Swenson said officers were left to decide whether to write a citation or a warning ticket. Some cities were only writing warning tickets the first week.

He said the two tickets were for "blatant" misuse of a cellphone while driving, he said.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live

The fine is $50 plus court costs for the first offense and climbs to $275 plus court costs for the second and later tickets.

The law simply states that drivers can't have their phones in their hands. There are a number of devices that people can purchase to allow talking without their phone in their hand. Also cellphones can be used by voice commands or single-touch activation.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety said in 12 of the 15 states with hands-free laws, traffic fatalities have decreased by an average of 15 percent.