This Thursday, August 1st, a number of new laws are set to go into effect, so I wanted to take a moment to let you know about some of them.
One of the most notable new laws is the “hands-free” law, which prohibits holding cell phones and other wireless communication devices while behind the wheel of a car. House Public Information Services provided this description of the new law:
“The new law broadens the state’s existing ban on texting while driving, barring drivers from holding a cellphone or other wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle that is in motion or operating as a part of traffic on a street or highway. Drivers will be required to use hands-free technology when making calls, sending messages, or accessing content — including audio and navigation software — behind the wheel.”
While drivers can send messages using hands-free technology, it is still illegal to read texts or watch videos. There are exceptions for obtaining emergency assistance if there is an immediate threat to life and safety, or when in an authorized emergency vehicle while performing official duties.
According to the Department of Public Safety's Office of Traffic Safety, "The new law does allow a driver to use their cell phone to make calls, text, listen to music or podcasts and get directions, but only by voice commands or single-touch activation without holding the phone."
I've linked a helpful resource from the Department of Public Safety if you have any questions on how to comply with the Hands-Free Law: https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ots/hands-free/Pages/default.aspx.
Other new laws beginning August 1st include:
As always, if you have a question about a particular law change, please contact my office.
If you need assistance on an issue pertaining to state government or have concerns or ideas about legislation, my office is available to you. You can e-mail at Rep.Marion.ONeill@House.mn or call my office at 651-296-5063. You can also write a letter to me. My office address at the Capitol is 357 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55155.