Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin urges drivers to prepare for the Aug. 1 change in law prohibiting the use of handheld electronic devices such as cellphones when behind the wheel.

The new law requires drivers to use voice commands or single-touch activation without holding the phone to make calls, text, listen to music or podcasts and use navigation systems. In the release, Lueck stated the new law will mark a significant change in the way many people use a cellphone while driving.

“For all the benefits technology has brought us, it also can become a major source of distracted driving,” Lueck stated in a news release Tuesday, July 23. “On Aug. 1 the new hands-free law will require a change in cellphone use habits behind the wheel. No more driving with a cellphone held to one’s ear as we motor down the road. Now is the time to get that cellphone out of our hands and into a holder on the dash.”

There are many ways Minnesotans can come into compliance with the hands-free law. Lueck encourages people to take the time to make sure they have a system in place that works well for them.

While individuals will no longer be able to physically hold a cellphone while operating a vehicle, drivers also are prohibited from video calling, video live-streaming, Snapchat, gaming, looking at video or photos stored on the phone, using non-navigation apps, reading texts and scrolling or typing on the phone.

Exceptions are allowed for individuals to obtain emergency assistance if there is an immediate threat to life and safety, or when in an authorized emergency vehicle while performing official duties.

GPS direction systems may still be used, but destination programming must be performed ahead of time, before a driver enters the roadway.

Lueck urges constituents to visit the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s website at https://bit.ly/2IAKbhg if they have any questions on the new law.