'The phone can wait': Prepare to go hands-free by Aug. 1

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In less than two weeks, you'll have to rely on voice commands to make a phone call, send texts or get your GPS going if you're on the road. 

Some officers are going above and beyond to help you go hands free by Aug. 1. 

Sergeant Michael Glassberg of the Hopkins Police sees distracted drivers every single day.

“You’re at stop lights, you’re going on the road, you see people swerving because they’re on their phones,” Sgt. Glassberg said. “It’s an epidemic. Bottom line is once you’re in that car, and you’re in the roadway, you can’t be holding your phone.”

Lately, anytime he stops a distracted driver, he also hands them a clip to help them keep the phone out of their hands. 

“You were focused on your phone here a little more and you were distracted ‘cause that lane change back there you made, you didn’t signal your turn,” Sgt. Glassberg said.

Police are also handing out another reminder: orange bands that you can wrap around your phone with the words “Don’t temp fate, the phone can wait.” 

“You can put it on there, another safety thing to remind you, ‘hey, if you’re going to go for that phone you can always wait until you get to your destination,’” he said.

According to the Office of Traffic Safety from 2014 to 2018, distracted driving contributed to an average of 45 deaths and more than 200 life-changing injuries in Minnesota each year. If the law follows the pattern it has in other states, it could reduce traffic deaths by 15 percent.

“That will mean many, many lives saved, many, many injuries prevented…and many crashes that are prevented. One in five crashes in Minnesota is directly attributed to a distracted driver,” said Mike Hanson, Director of the Office of Traffic Safety.

So, kick the nasty habit now because in a matter of days, you’ll have to mount any excuse.

“It’s a violation and there’s really no arguing about it,” Sgt. Glassberg said.

For more information on the new law, click here.