A bipartisan group of state lawmakers today introduced legislation that would ban the use of cell phones when behind the wheel–unless the devices are in “hands-free” mode. DFL Representative Frank Hornstein of Minneapolis says it isn’t about restricting liberties, it’s about public safety and adds “distracted driving is the fastest cause of road accidents in Minnesota, and this epidemic claimed 59 lives in 2017 and caused 223 serious injuries.” GOP Senator Scott Newman of Hutchinson says this is the year to pass legislation and “I can’t think of any other aspect of distracted driving that is as universally abused as having a cell phone in your hand and driving an automobile, it seems to me to be comparable to what drunk driving was in the 20th century, we are now dealing with cell phones in the 21st century.” The bill would allow voice-activated calls or other actions that only need one-touch activation, including navigation or playing music. The measure has the support of Vijay Dixit, who lost his 19-year-old daughter in 2007 when she was killed by a distracted driver. Dixit says the time for change is now and calls it a “no brainer.” At a press conference Monday, Dixit said “I don’t think there is anyone who would like to stand like this in four or five years and talk about their loved one who was lost to a distracted driver. Another bill that has been introduced would increase the penalties for texting while driving in cases where someone is killed or injured.