According to the National Safety Council, every 1 out of 4 accidents in the U.S. is caused by distracted driving. To take proactive steps against this hazard, many states across the nation have enacted new laws to make the roads safer, and Minnesota joined that group last year by passing a hands-free law. In 12 of 15 states with hands-free laws, traffic fatalities have decreased by an average of 15 percent (according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety), which was a big reason why the law was established.
In August 2019, Minnesota’s Hands-Free Law officially went into effect, and hundreds have been pulled over for violating it since. The law officially states that Minnesota drivers:
– Are prohibited from holding their cellphones or other wireless devices while driving.
– Are not allowed to use their phone for actions like video calling, reading texts, gaming, looking at photos or videos, gaming, etc.
– Can use their cellphone through single touch activation or voice command only while driving.
The law also includes other devices like a smartwatch or music device. So how can Minnesota drivers follow this law and avoid distracted driving?
– Use voice-activated features if your car has that option.
– Mount your phone to the dash if you need it available, but be sure to only use one-touch activations.
– Buy a bluetooth headset/earphone that has a microphone if you need to make calls, but you are allowed to only wear one earphone at a time.
Other distractions like eating, putting on makeup, or looking at other passengers are not technically included in the law, but they are also a common occurrence. A driver can still get pulled over and cited for reckless or careless driving if they are caught doing any of those activities.
This National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, try to avoid any distractions behind the wheel. If you are in need of autobody repair, Superior Collision Center can expertly handle your repairs and help you figure out the insurance claim. Schedule an appointment at our Eagan, MN location.