Get ready now for new hands-free law

By: 
Chuck Kajer, The New Prague Times

As has been reported in this paper and across the state over the past few months, the Minnesota Legislature passed a Hands-Free cellphone law that goes into effect on August 1, 2019. The new law allows 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.

Under the new law, drivers may not hold their phone in their hand. Also, a driver may not use the phone at any time for 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.

At no time may a driver hold the phone in their hand unless it’s 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.

Should you be in violation of the law, the first ticket is $50 plus court fees and the second and later tickets are $275 plus court fees.

Most newer cars are able to pair with a smartphone automatically. Older vehicles can use a variety of devices, such as bluetooth speakers or earphones, to make your phones hands-free.

With just six weeks before the new law goes into effect, now would be a good time to learn just how your phone and your car can work together to give you, your passengers and those you share the road with a safe driving experience.

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