By Heather Brown


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Starting Aug. 1, Minnesotans will use hands-free devices in their cars. For any driver with a newer car that already has Bluetooth, it’ll be easy to talk without holding the phone. Drivers just have to pair their phone with their car.

But what if someone has an older model car? Good Question.

“We aren’t encouraging people to use their phone in the car,” says Paul Aasen of the Minnesota Safety Council. “But if you must, do it hands-free.”

The MN Department of Public Safety created a website with ways to go hands-free. Among the first option on its list: headphones. It reminds people that they should only use one, though, because using headphones in both ears is illegal while driving in Minnesota.

To go hands-free, the central idea is to use the one touch the law allows to activate the voice function on the phone.

“We haven’t had a whole lot of customers come in yet,” said Josh Burris, manager of Mach One Car Audio and Security in Little Canada. “But I’m expecting a whole lot more.”

DPS also says people with auxiliary jacks or cassette players could buy a special adapter that connects their phone to their car. The sounds would then travel through the car’s speaker system. Those adapters range from $5-$20.

At Mach One, Burris demonstrated a wireless Bluetooth adapter that plugs into the auxiliary jack. Its microphone is on the adapter and is sold for $50.

Mach One and other electronics stores also sell Bluetooth speakers for the car that attach to the visor or dash. Those can range from $30 to more than $100.

“That’s the most popular one when you don’t have an auxiliary input,” Burris says.

On the more expensive end, drivers can buy an entirely new Bluetooth enabled radio to be installed in their cars.

Apps like Drivemode are also on the market. It allows for voice commands on the phone and hands-free voice texting that lets people respond to text messages entirely by voice.

Heather Brown

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