MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – One week ago, the state enacted a hands-free phone law. Friday afternoon, the Minnesota Safety Council honored the four bi-partisan lawmakers who helped make hands-free happen, including Rep. Frank Hornstein, D-Minneapolis; former Rep. Mark Uglem, R-Champlin; Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson; and Sen. Jim Carlson, D-Eagan.
At the ceremony, Trooper Gordan Shank updated the council on hands-free enforcement. The State Patrol alone cited more than 500 people with warnings or tickets since Aug. 1.
“One is too many at the end of the day,” Trooper Shank said.
Although state troopers are giving out citations, they say it’s not the point of this law.
“Our goal is for education. We want to save lives,” Trooper Shank said.
Minnesota State Patrol ordered 7,000 hands-free phone devices to give away for free. It’s a two-piece set with a magnet that goes on the back of your phone and a clip that attaches to your car air vent.
“We’ve been handing them out at traffic safety outreach presentations that State Patrol takes a part of, National Night Out, we were handing some out the other night,” said Trooper Shank.
Minnesota drivers WCCO spoke to said they are loving the new law so far.
“Believe me, it’s the best idea ever and it’s the safest idea ever,” said driver Mohammad Warsame.
“It’s really good to get people off their phones,” driver Matthew Miner said. “I mean to me it should have been that way a long time ago.”
If you see a trooper or reach out to State Patrol, you can ask for one of the hands-free clips – they’ll give you one if they’re still available. The Minnesota Safety council still has $350,000 to help spread the word about the new law.