Today, smartphones are equipped with GPS, calling, and texting features. In recent years, these features have increased cell phone use while driving. In fact, distracted driving accounts for thousands of deaths each year. In 2017, distracted drivers in Minnesota killed 59 people and injured 223.
Recently, the Minnesota House voted 106-21 to pass a new bill that bans the use of electronic devices while driving, by taking a hands-free approach. Learn all about this new law coming into effect August 1st.
What is the new hands-free law?
Minnesota’s current distracted driving law prohibits motorists from emailing, texting, and surfing the web while driving. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to stop motorists from using their phones.
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said, “We just have to be able to step in and help people help themselves when, for whatever reason, they can’t stop holding their phone.”
Now, hand-held devices such as cell phones are added to the list by Rep. Frank Hornstein, DFL- Minneapolis. So, if you hold your phone while driving, whether to answer a phone call, look at the map, read messages, or scroll for a new song, be prepared to chat with a police officer.
According to Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson and state Rep. Frank Hornstein, DFL-Minnesota, “drivers would face a $50 fine – the same penalty that texting while driving currently carries – unless they’re using voice-activated calling or one-touch features on their cell phones.”
Lawmakers are also considering additional legislation to increase the penalties for distracted driving.
What does hands-free mean?
Hands-free means, when driving, you will not be able to have your phone in your hands.
If you must use your phone while driving, you will want to get something to hold your phone instead. Furthermore, you will only be allowed to tap on your phone, not type or text.
How do you access your phone while driving if you can’t touch it? Hands-free, says the state of Minnesota. Newer cars are equipped with modern, hands-free technology like one-touch buttons on steering wheels or digital displays. Additionally, some vehicles offer hands-free modes for phones, where you can call and text your loved ones via voice-activated software without having to hold your phone.
However, some vehicles don’t have those fancy gadgets, so what can you do? Below we highlight some ways in which you can update your vehicle to be hands-free.
5 ways to make your vehicle hands-free
Here are several ways you can outfit your car with hands-free options.
1. Purchase a phone mount that connects to your air vent
One of the cheaper routes to go is purchasing a phone mount for your vehicle that hooks up to an air vent. Most of these air vent phone mounts are around $25 on Amazon and allow you to have hands-free access to your phone.
2. Purchase a phone mount that suctions to your dashboard
Similar to the air vent models, a phone mount that suctions to your dashboard is a good option to help keep you hands-free. These products are also quite inexpensive with prices ranging from $19 to $35 and can be found on Amazon or a local department store such as Target or Walmart.
3. Use a Bluetooth speaker
Bluetooth speakers allow you to connect to your phone and be hands-free while talking and texting someone. The price of Bluetooth speakers is around $30, and you can find them on Amazon, or your phone carrier may sell them as well. Some Bluetooth’s clip into the sun visor or hook up to the auxiliary power outlet.
4. Use a Bluetooth earpiece
Along with Bluetooth speakers, you can also look into a Bluetooth earpiece. These earpieces connect to your phone and allow you to make phone calls. Just keep in mind that the MN state law bans the use of headphones and earphones in both ears simultaneously.
5. Hang up
One of the best ways to create a hands-free driving experience is to hang up and not to answer calls or texts while operating a vehicle. Some phone carriers even offer an automated text option that allows people who are driving to alert their loved one that they will respond when they are no longer operating the vehicle.
Say yes to hands-free
Distracted driving is risky driving, and it causes upwards of 3,000 deaths annually in the United States. To prevent this dangerous behavior, say no to distracted driving by purchasing a vehicle that offers a hands-free mode.
Poquet Auto offers a wide range of over 200+, low mileage, and certified accident-free vehicles. Come check out our showroom and schedule a test drive with a nifty, hands-free feature.
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