By Kahner Pierce
A new law came into place on October 1, 2019 called the Hands-Free Law. This law states that it is illegal to use a handheld device while in a school zone or a construction zone while workers are present (Frank, Fernandez). With this law coming into action, many drivers will have to learn discipline, by putting down their phone and paying stricter attention to the roads. Many alternatives and safer options have been created in order to decrease the number of people texting and driving in an active school zone, like Handsfree mode and “do not disturb while driving”. The Hands-Free Law should be enforced because the roads will be safer for drivers and pedestrians as well as the drivers will become more aware of their surroundings.
Now that the law is being implemented, so are the repercussions of breaking the law. During the first week of the new law, officers have cited 678 drivers statewide (“First Week of Hands-Free Law”). This is just a portion of the people that are preoccupied while they are driving. With the outcome of 678 people receiving citations is nerve wrecking.
Now to the severity of the problem, distracted driving was a factor in crashes that killed 291 people on state roads (“First Week of Hands-Free Law”). With pedestrians walking on the streets, children exiting the school buses, and construction workers on the roads, being on the cellphone while driving can have detrimental effects on people’s lives. This is not limited to other drivers on the road, this law is helping to ensure safety for the children and construction workers on site.
This new law has affected my family very personally. My brother was riding his bike home from school, he had just exited the school parking lot, when a distracted driver on his phone hit my brother. The driver claimed to be putting his phone down and did not see my brother on the bike. After weeks in the hospital he made a full recovery. With this law being in place and being sought out, less “accidents” will happen. If drivers are more aware of receiving a ticket for being on their phone in an active school or work zone, they will be less likely to text and drive.
While this is limiting the use to handheld devices while driving in school and work zones, one alternative to this is, Handsfree. Handsfree is a Bluetooth system that cars are installed with. This allows for any driver to answer a phone call, receive a text message, and any notification alerts without having to use a cell phone.
Many citizens are benefiting from the Hands-Free Law. Since the law has been in action there has been over 600 citations. With educating other drivers with this evidence, this should lead to the decrease of the number of drivers that are driving while using their handheld devices in an active school or work zone. With alternatives to this problem, this law should not be purposely violated.
Header photo from Max Meyers Law.
“678 Cited in First Week of Hands-Free Law; Nearly 300 Citations Issued in Hennepin County for Holding Devices While Driving.” Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), 2019. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsggo&AN=edsgcl.597173377&site=eds-live.
Frank Fernandez. “Drivers, Put the Phone down; It’s Now the Law to Keep Phones out of Hands in School, Work Zones.” Daytona Beach News-Journal, The (FL), 3 Oct. 2019. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsnbk&AN=1765AD0F65A76B68&site=eds-live.