(FOX 9) - Thursday, Minnesota drivers will be forced to put down their phones as a new state law takes effect.
The new hands-free law has had drivers rushing out to find alternatives but, for others, it will be a tough habit to break. And, if there's anyone who understands how frequently drivers turn to their phones, it's drivers sitting in the cabs of their trucks. They see it all every day.
“I see at least three of four of them trying to drive and hold a cell phone with their hand," says truck driver Stan Best. "So, it makes it a lot more dangerous for me to make sure I see where they’re going, you know.”
But, starting at midnight, that changes.
"I think the idea is just understanding that the device, it can’t be in your hand, right? It has to be somewhere else," says Plymouth Public Safety Director Mike Goldstein.
Even though you cannot have a phone in your hand, the new law also means no gaming, no FaceTiming, no video streaming and no use of apps.
"You can use your phone while driving but it has to be in hands-free mode," explains Minnesota State Patrol Col. Matt Langer.
Minnesota becomes the 16th state to enact a hands-free law. The goal is to save lives.
"In 12 of the 15 states that have enacted distracted driving legislation, we’ve seen a 15-percent decrease in highway fatalities," said Gov. Tim Walz.
In Minnesota, that’s about 30 lives saved a year. But those who make a living on the road know it won't be easy for a lot of drivers. “Unless they put a highway patrol officer inside of our trucks to see what’s going on, it ain't going to change it.”
The State Patrol says their main goal is education. They expect to do a lot of that starting Thursday. They will give out a lot of warnings, and in extreme cases, tickets. The fine is $50 on the first offense.