ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota State Patrol has been working to spot drivers using their phones while behind the wheel since the state's new "hands-free" law came into effect Aug. 1.

During the first week, the State Patrol said it gave over 500 tickets and warnings to people driving with their phone in their hand.

Spokesman Sgt. Jesse Grabow said it has been a decent start for the new law, but some drivers are still forgetting about it two weeks in.

"There is a bit of a learning curve," Grabow said, "But when it comes down to it, don't overthink it. What's the name of the law? Hands-free. It's that simple. If you're driving, you shouldn't have a phone in your hand."

Sgt. Jesse Grabow, Minnesota State Patrol
Sgt. Jesse Grabow, Minnesota State Patrol

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Moorhead police spokesman Capt. Deric Swenson said even though the department doesn't have an official count of tickets issued for hands-free law violations, he's pleasantly surprised with what officers are seeing on the roads.

"When I drive around, I'm seeing people driving, talking to themselves in the air, not having that phone up (and) our officers are seeing the same thing," he said.