ST. PAUL – State Rep. Lisa Demuth, R-Cold Spring, 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. Demuth said the new law will mark a significant change in the way many individuals use a cellphone while driving.
“This new law is going to require us to make some adjustments and I hope people will embrace the transition so it is as smooth as possible,” Demuth said. “We all should take the time to make sure we have a system in place that not only complies with the new law, but ultimately achieves the goals of keeping our eyes up and our roads safer. Let’s all do our part to help make this happen.”
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.
Demuth urges constituents to reach out to her 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.