It won’t be long before drivers can no longer use cell phones in their cars unless it is though hands-free operation.

The Minnesota House of Representatives has approved compromise hands-free legislation that was crafted by House and Senate lawmakers in hopes that it will reduce the number of accidents that occur due to drivers who pay more attention to their cell phones than the road.

District 16B State Representative Paul Torkelson of Hanska supported the legislation, which Gov. Tim Walz has also signed into law.

“It sends a strong message to the citizens of Minnesota to put their phones down and keep their eyes on the road,” Torkelson said. “It’s all about safety, safely operating our vehicles on the road and having some sense of security that the person driving towards us also has his or her eyes on the road.” 

Under current law, it is illegal to text while driving in Minnesota, but it is not illegal to type in a phone number or program a GPS system while behind the wheel. This new legislation would allow voice activated cell phone use only, along with one-touch or headsets.

“Current law makes it difficult to enforce, because officers have no idea what you’re doing with your phone,” Torkelson said. “Making it illegal to have a phone in your hands removes the guesswork, eliminates a distraction for drivers and ultimately will save lives and prevent accidents.”

The hands-free legislation will go into effect Aug. 1, 2019.

– Photo courtesy of the Internet Public Domain