State lawmakers approve changes to distracted driving laws

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Distracted driving can be very dangerous, leading to accidents and worse. State lawmakers have now passed a bill to crack down on the practice.

While many think of texting and driving when they think of distracted driving, it can be much more.

The Senate approved a House bill expanding the definition to any action not necessary to operate a vehicle and could be reasonably expected to impair, the ability of the individual to safely operate the vehicle.

Anyone guilty of this secondary offense would owe a fine of $100. ​

"So, I'm driving down the road and I'm eating a cheeseburger. Is that distracted driving? No it is not. What makes it distracted driving? Distracted driving would be if you commit an offense, such as if you move over the center line," said Sen. David Rust, R-Tioga.

The bill now allows, however, for people to send texts and emails while driving, as long as they use a hands-free device.