Hands-Free Law to Take Effect in Minnesota on August 1

Drivers can use their phones as long as its not in their hands

MINNESOTA –The hands–free law will go into effect in just over a month in Minnesota.

Before you get on the road, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety says you should start keeping the hands-free law in mind now.

“It does require a cultural change. It’s a habit change, it’s a behavior change. They say it takes about thirty days for us to change a habit. So the time to start is now, not waiting until August 1,” Mike Hanson, director of the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety, said.

Under the new law, you will be able to make calls and text as long as your phone is not in your hand and you use something like voice activation or a Bluetooth device.

You are allowed to use GPS on your phone, if you put in the address before you start driving.

Watching videos or live streaming is not allowed.

Having your phone tucked into a headscarf is not against the law, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your vision.

“We want people to pay 100 percent of their attention towards the task of driving and to minimize distractions. Just because you’re hands free does not mean you’re distraction free. We’re not encouraging the use of cellphones while driving,” Col. Matt Langer of the Minnesota State Patrol said.

The only time you can hold your phone is in the event of an emergency.

One driver says he’s all for the law, but doesn’t completely agree with using something to hold your phone to your ear.

“As I’m going down the road I see people sitting, ‘blah blah blah’ and the car is weaving back and forth, whether it’s in a head scarf or in your hand, it’s still a distraction,” Steve Brockopp said.

“I think it would be an excellent idea, I’m guilty of using my phone while driving, and I think it would be a much safer option to have hands free capabilities,” Rachel Schmitz said.

Ultimately, it’s about keeping people safe on the roads.

“We don’t call them accidents, we call them crashes. There’s nothing accidental about driving a car and picking up your phone and staring at it,” Robert Johnson of the Insurance Federation of Minnesota said.

If you’re caught not following the hands free law, the first offense is $50 and the second is $275.

For more information on the law, click here.

Categories: Local News, Minnesota News