Get used to driving without phones

The law won’t take effect for another month, but when Aug. 1 comes around motorists driving along while holding a phone up to their ear can be pulled over and given a ticket. Only hands-free mobile devices will be allowed in cars.

You might as well get used to the idea. Start now. Figure out how to have Siri answer your phone or make your call, using speakerphone.

The New Ulm Police, Brown County Sheriff’s Office and State Patrol are going to help us all get used to the idea. On July 3 they will conducting special enforcement on distracted driving. It is already illegal to text and drive in Minnesota. There are a lot of other things you shouldn’t do while driving, like read a map, eat something messy, put on makeup, shave, and so on.

We’ve all seen people driving along, conducting animated conversations on their cell phones, one hand on the wheel and the other holding the phone. It can lead to trouble. New Ulm Police statistics show there have been at least 49 distracted driving crashes in New Ulm over the last five years.

We hope that number will start going down once the hands-free cell phone driving law goes into effect.