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Is it ever safe to use your cell phone while driving?

Everyone talks about how we shouldn’t text and drive. Ever since our phones became more for texting than talking, we haven’t heard much about calling and driving. But it is still dangerous.

The Minnesota state legislature is trying to get everyone to put their devices down. A new law will make it illegal to have your phone in your hand when you are behind the wheel.

What does the law change?

Starting in August, it will be illegal to hold your phone while driving. Actions that only require a quick touch of the finger will be okay—but you must be able to do it without holding your phone. Any action that requires more attention than a tap could get you pulled over.

The main solution to this issue is to go hands-free. Mounting your device on your dashboard will allow you to answer calls and look at directions without breaking the law.

Will banning cell phones help you drive safely?

The purpose of the law is to reduce distracted driving. But there are numerous studies that suggest going hands-free doesn’t make a huge difference. The problem isn’t having your phone in your hand—it is having your brain focused on the conversation.

Drivers who make phone calls tend to focus on only a small part of the road in front of them, instead of their entire surrounding area. Their eyes also move slower between objects. Since any distraction at all seems to cause problems, the solution may be to completely ignore your calls while driving.

Studies about bans on cell phones have shown mixed results. Sometimes accidents decreased and sometimes bans didn’t have any effect.

Eliminating phone calls entirely might be a better solution for Minnesota drivers than going hands-free. You should still consider changing to a hands-free system while driving to avoid a ticket. But it may also be a good idea to disregard your phone entirely—for the sake of everyone on the road.

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