Be Prepared for Minnesota’s New Hands-Free Law!
7/9/2019 Abby Tricker, Public Health

Be Prepared for Minnesota's New Hands-Free Law!

New law is effective August 1

Beginning August 1, 2019, Minnesota law will require drivers to put their phones down and go hands-free while driving. Minnesota will become the 19th state, along with Washington, D.C., to enact a law related to hands-free cell phone use while driving.

Driver distractions, including those involving cell phone use, are responsible for one-fourth of crashes and one-fifth of fatalities. In 12 of the 15 states with data related to the hands-free law, traffic fatalities have decreased by an average of 15 percent. 

Become familiar with this new law and adapt your cell phone use so you are ready to comply by August 1. 

This new law allows drivers to:

· Use the phone while driving, but only in hands-free mode (Note: This does not apply to teens under 18 with a driver's permit or provisional license. They cannot make or answer calls while driving whatsoever).

· Text, but only in hands-free or voice-activated mode. 

· Use the phone as a GPS, but only in hands-free or voice-activated mode.

· Listen to music or podcast, but only in hands-free or voice-activated mode.

· Use the phone hand-held or hands-free in case of emergency ONLY IF there is an immediate threat to life and safety.

Long story short… when in traffic (and that includes stop signs and stoplights), cell phone functions can only be used hands-free - no typing, scrolling or holding the device. 

Remember that hands-free is NOT distraction-free. Don't wait until August 1 … start now to make all of us safer on our roadways!