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Take a spin in a distracted driving simulator as hands-free law goes into effect in MN

The new hands-free law in Minnesota is a talker. It will force drivers to put down the cell phone and instead put their hands on the wheel, or be fined.

Posted: Jul 31, 2019 10:45 PM
Updated: Aug 1, 2019 1:12 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - The new hands-free law in Minnesota is a talker. It will force drivers to put down the cell phone and instead put their hands on the wheel, or be fined.

It only takes a few seconds for devastation to unfold behind the wheel.

"Taking your eyes off the road to look down at the phone for five seconds or less, is like driving the length of a football field blindfolded," explained Todd Emanuel, a Mayo Clinic registered nurse in the Trauma Center.

Mayo uses their distracted driving simulator to give people a chance to see just how quickly an accident can occur.

"Statistics have shown that approximately 23-percent of crashes are caused by some form of inattentive driving," said Emanuel.

Texting and GPS navigation systems are not the only forms of inattentive driving.

"Eating, drinking, pets, and children. Either reaching for something that is on the seat next to you or has fallen on the floor," added Emanuel.

While the new hands-free legislation isn't a guarantee fatal accidents won't happen, it's certainly a move in the right direction.

"Twelve of the fifteen states that have already implemented the hands-free law has seen a 15-percent decrease in traffic fatalities," said Emanuel.

If you're interested in trying out the simulator contact Mayo Clinic at 507-284-2511 - and ask for the Injury Prevention Coordinator.

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