‘Hands-Free Law’ Enforcement Officially Underway, And You Won’t Believe What Happened On This Stop
As of today (August 1), it is illegal to use your cell phone with your hands while operating a vehicle. The so-called "hands-free law" encourages drivers not to use their phones while driving, but does allow for hands-free use for making calls, navigation, and music.
As part of this new law, having your phone in your hand while driving is now an offense you can be pulled over for, and officers around the state are enforcing the new law. One of the first stories we're hearing about a traffic stop for breaking the hands-free law is one that is so full of irony, it's hard to believe.
The Eagan Police shared that they pulled a driver over today for texting and driving, texting a friend about the new texting and driving law. Good for her for trying to let her friend know, but it's a bad look to do the thing you shouldn't be doing to let someone else know they shouldn't do it.
With the new law, "one-touch activation" or voice interaction with your phone is permitted, but other use of your phone, whether talking on the phone, texting, or doing anything else, is prohibited by the new law. For people with older cars that don't have bluetooth built in, aftermarket products are recommended to talk on the phone, or even using an earpiece with a microphone. While earbuds might be a good solution, authorities do warn that using earbuds or headphones obstructing both ears is illegal as well. So, use one earpiece only.
While the first offense ticket is $50, it also comes with associated court fees that raise that total amount you'd owe to more than that. Subsequent violations could result in a $275 ticket, plus fees. Also worth noting is that violations of this law are considered moving violations, and could result in loss of your driver's license.
All of that said, just put the phone down while you're driving. Even if you're just trying to let a friend know not to text and drive.