Ask a trooper: Hands-free cell phones no safer than regular onesE-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or mail your question to Duluth News Tribune, Attn: Ask the State Trooper, 424 W. First St., Duluth, MN 55802. You may remain anonymous if you choose. Read past columns at duluthnewstribune.com.
Q: The majority of law enforcement I see are using a cell phone while driving. Why don’t they get a hands-free model and set a good example for the rest of us?
A: I appreciate your concern, but it is not against the law to be on the phone while driving unless you are a bus driver, or you are a young person who does not have your full, unrestricted license yet. We use the phones as a tool and out of necessity. No one wants us to pull over and stop to talk on the phone while getting directions to where their child is choking to death or some other emergency like that. Being law enforcement officers, we have some hard realities that we need to face and one of them is that we at times have to be on the phone, which is why we have and use them. As far as hands-free, all studies show that hands-free is really no safer than holding the phone. Some states passed hands-free laws just to appease the masses. If it ever becomes a law that drivers can’t use the cell phone, it is very likely that law enforcement will be exempt and you will still see us on them while driving. Thanks for asking and letting me clarify this issue for you.
Q: Are we required to have our Minnesota registration card/cab card in our vehicle? Is it a good idea to have them in the vehicle or not?
A: No, it is not required for normal passenger vehicles. However, commercial vehicles need to have the registration card/cab card with the driver in the vehicle. Some other states require them but if you are a Minnesota resident and you drive to another state, you are legal without it, because if you are valid in your own state, you are valid in all other states, the same as driver’s licenses.
Some people keep their vehicle title in their glove box of their car. We strongly advise keeping the title at home in a safe or somewhere else safe. Thanks for asking.
Sgt. Curt S. Mowers is a regional public information officer for the Minnesota State Patrol.