Andrew Biscay July 24, 2019
Are you ready to go totally hands-free with your cell phone starting August 1st?
Distracted driving causes 1.6M crashes annually, directly leading to 390,000 accident-related injuries, and tens of thousands of fatalities. Phone use while driving now accounts for 1 in 4 car accidents. 91% of Americans now support distracted-driving laws, according to recent studies. States that have adopted these laws, with proper enforcement, have seen drops in distracted driving related injuries and deaths.
With new laws in MN, holding your phone while driving after Aug 1st will carry a $50 fine for the first offence, and $275 for every time after that. Each citation could also cost you big on your auto insurance through violation surcharges.
Here are a few ways to get ready for the new law:
1) Car sync. If you have a newer vehicle, chances are that you're already capable of going hands-free with little to no investment. You can sync most modern phones to your vehicle through Bluetooth (wireless technology). This allows you to answer phone calls with one touch, and communicate through your vehicles audio system. This is the best and easiest way to go hands-free.
2) Dashboard Mounts. There are many available devices like this one on Amazon for $11, that allow you to set your phone in a cradle or a magnet while you're driving. This will allow you to receive calls without touching holding your phone. Many modern phones have a built-in voice activation features that allow you to dial and answer calls without touching the phone at all. Refer to your specific phone's user guide to learn more about how to access this feature.
3) Bluetooth/FM audio adapters. This is a great device for older vehicles without Sync capability. In short, these plug into your car's DC adapter, sync to your phone's Bluetooth, and broadcasts the audio through an FM signal on your vehicle's speaker system. This device is under $20, and works with most phones and vehicles.
4) Skip the phone. I'm a realist so I know this isn't possible for many. Try leaving your phone in your pocket, in silent mode while driving. Most drives are short distances and most calls, emails, texts, or tweets can wait 10-15 minutes. The best, and safest way to operate a vehicle is without any distraction from your phone, even if you're hands-free.
In short, there are many easy and low cost ways to avoid citations and to be safe on MN roads. If you have questions, or would like hands-on help from a real person, local insurance brokers Andrew Biscay and Mark Trudeau are happy to provide assistance as one of many complimentary services we provide our clients and the community.
Enjoy the rest of your summer, and be safe!
South Lake Agency Inc