US state considers using phone with a hijab 'hands-free'
The Minnesota Senate has amended a hands-free cell phone bill to specifically allow women to use a mobile phone when driving, if it is tucked into a hijab.
The bill passed on Monday bars cell phone use while driving unless the phone is being used in a "hands-free" mode. The bill specifically allows drivers to operate hands-free using a "scarf or hijab or other item of clothing to hold a device".
The amendment led to several hours of debate, local media reported. It was introduced and successfully pushed by Senator Bobby Joe Champion.
"Any person who is using a scarf and they are operating hands free - because that's what it says 'hands-free mode' - by using a scarf in order to hold a phone would not be a violation because both hands would be on the steering wheel," he said.
He added it would reduce concerns of racial profiling, as "police wouldn't need to spot another infraction to stop a motorist", MPR News reported.
Lawmakers still need to iron out the differences with a similar bill that passed in the House last week.
The need for a law gained traction after lives were lost in car accidents caused by distracted drivers.