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Are you ready? Minnesota goes hands-free Thursday

(Mankato, MN) – Minnesotan’s have just a couple days to get their devices in order.

Starting Thursday, the state’s “hands-free” cell phone law goes into effect, meaning drivers can’t talk on the phone while holding their device.

North Mankato Verizon Wireless store manager Jake Thurnbeck said locals are concerned with how they are going to comply with the law when it kicks in.  “Just yesterday, the first five groups that came in were all people asking about hands-free,” said Thurnbeck.  “It’s been this way all month.”

The laws won’t be new to only motorists.

Mankato Public Safety Commander Matt DuRose said that local police have some learning to do as well.  “Right now we’re just having a lot of internal discussions,” DuRose said.  “We want to make sure our officers understand not only the intention behind the law… there is going to be some education that needs to go along with enforcement.”

It will still be OK to operate a cellphone by voice commands or single-touch activation while driving – as long as you’re not holding the phone.

If you are driving a newer car, the solution is easy: more current vehicles have built-in Bluetooth systems.  If not, there are also Bluetooth speakers, earphones, or earbuds with a microphone that will work – so long as the driver is only plugged in one ear.

But Thurnbeck said that motorists don’t have to spend a lot of money in order to safely and legally use their phones in the car after August 1st.  “If you put your phone on a car mount, that’s all you need to do,” he said.  “It’s a $30 fix.”

Thurbeck said the Verizon store in North Mankato still has plenty of dash mounts for anyone looking for a last-minute solution, saying he believes it is the cheapest and best way to get in compliance with the impending hands-free legislation.

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