One Week Until Hands-Free Law: Here’s What You Need to Know
The hands-free law takes effect in Minnesota next Thursday. Since there has been so much publicity about this new law there is going to be no grace period, so let's talk about what we need to know for next week.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety put together a hands-free law FAQ. In a nutshell, here's how the law works:
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. Remember, hands-free is not necessarily distraction-free.
You're not allowed to hold your phone under this new law. You're also not allowed to use your phone ever 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."
The one time that you're allowed to hold your phone is if you're making an emergency call.
Thankfully, there are lots of options to make your car hands-free! I recently got a mount that I can clip to my air vent and secure my phone on that. When it comes to mounting your phone, Lt. Gordon Shank of the Minnesota State Patrol told WCCO that “you can put it in the lowermost portion of your windshield ... or on the dash, or on the vent."
If you don't want to mount your phone anywhere, you can use earbuds to talk on the phone but you're only allowed to have one earbud in. If you have a newer car you can sync your phone and your car. Or you can get an adapter if you have an older car so you can hear the person you're on the phone with through your car speakers.
The FAQ sheet from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety goes into even more detail about the law, so if there are parts that you're still questioning, check that out!
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