ST. PAUL – State Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, urges drivers to prepare for the 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. Lueck said the new law will mark a significant change in the way many individuals use a cell phone while driving.
“For all the benefits technology has brought us, it also can become a major source of distracted driving,” Lueck said. “On Aug. 1 the new hands-free law will require a change in cell phone use habits behind the wheel. No more driving with a cell phone held to one’s ear as we motor down the road. Now is the time to get that cell phone out of our hands and into a holder on the dash.”
There are many ways we can come into compliance with the hands-free law. I encourage people to take the time to make sure they have a system in place that works well for them. It’s just common sense and a fundamental safe driving practice to keep one’s eyes on the road. We know that distracted driving is a major element of many serious vehicle and pedestrian accidents.”
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 direction systems may still be used, but destination programming must be performed ahead of time, before a driver enters the roadway.
Lueck urges constituents to visit the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s website: https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ots/hands-free/Pages/default.aspx if they have any questions on the new law.