ST. PAUL – State Rep. Paul Anderson, R-Starbuck, urges drivers to prepare for an Aug. 1 change in law prohibiting the use of hand-held electronic devices such as cell phones when behind the wheel.
The new law requires drivers to use voice commands or single-touch activation without holding the phone in order to make calls, text, listen to music or podcasts and use navigation systems. Anderson said the new law will mark a significant change in the way many individuals use a cellphone while driving.
“This is going to be a big change for some people since cell phones have become such a prominent fixture in our daily lives,” Anderson said. “I encourage people to figure out what works best for them to not only comply with the new law, but to help make our roads safer right off the bat as the new law takes effect. Let’s hope the transition is as smooth as possible and that this new law serves its purpose by helping us all be more attentive while driving.”
While individuals will no longer be able to physically hold a cell phone while operating a vehicle, drivers also are prohibited from video calling, video live-streaming, Snapchat, gaming, looking at video or photos stored on the phone, using non-navigation apps, reading texts and scrolling or typing on the phone.
Exceptions are allowed for individuals to obtain emergency assistance if there is an immediate threat to life and safety, or when in an authorized emergency vehicle while performing official duties.
GPS systems may still be used, but destination programming must be performed ahead of time, before a driver enters the roadway.
Anderson urges constituents to reach out to his office if they have any questions or concerns regarding the new law or to visit the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s website: https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ots/hands-free/Pages/default.aspx.