Texting drivers may be in for harsher fines on repeat offenses

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, April 22, 2015

ST. PAUL — Serial offenders of Minnesota’s prohibition on texting while driving could soon face steeper fines.

As part of a transportation plan advancing Tuesday, House lawmakers have embraced a plan to raise fines for people caught more than once reading, composing and sending messages from wireless devices while driving.

The current fine is $50. The new fine for repeat violators would be $150.

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The new fines would apply to offense committed after Aug. 1.

House members considered an amendment to include even heftier penalties, up to confiscation of phones for a third offense within a year. But that measure was withdrawn.

Gov. Mark Dayton urged a tougher repeat offender penalty earlier this year.