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Put the phone down: New Minnesota law takes effect August 1

LA CRESCENT, Minn. (WXOW) –  A new law starts next month in Minnesota that requires drivers to not hold their phone while behind the wheel.

The hands-free law was signed by Governor Tim Walz in April. Current law allows drivers to hold their phone to make calls. That would end when the new law starts August 1.

There will still be a few ways to utilize your phone while remaining hands free. You will be able to make calls, text, listen to music and use GPS features, but only by voice commands or single touch activation without holding the phone. Smart watches will have the same restrictions as cell phones under the hands-free law.

More importantly, the new law is an attempt to reduce instances of distracted driving. In 12 of the states with hands-free laws, traffic violations have dropped by an average of 15 percent.

“Distracted driving is one of the leading factors in state of Minnesota for fatal crashes. This is an attempt to reduce distractions and eliminate and reduce fatalities on our roadways,” said Sergeant Troy Christianson of the Minnesota State Patrol.

Hand-held phone use will be allowed for emergency situations.

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Kevin Millard

Kevin Millard-Social Media Digital Content Manager for WXOW.

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