As of August 01, 2019, Minnesota joined many other states in enforcing a distracted driving law, known as the Hands-Free Law. While people may think of texting when distracted driving is brought up, there’s many other ways people use their phones or get distracted on the road. According to a survey, “56.7% of all respondents reported that they eat or drink while driving” and “70.4% of Apple iOS using-respondents admitted to video-chatting while driving” (The Zebra).
These are the most important things to know about the Minnesota Hands-Free Law:
- You CANNOT use your phone or other electronic communication device while driving unless you’re making an emergency call.
- You CANNOT hold or read from devices like a phone, tablet, laptop, electronic watch, or similar device.
- You CANNOT use your phone or other devices at a stoplight. As long as the car is running, the law still applies.
- You CAN answer a call by activating the device with a verbal command or single touch. It’s recommended to use Bluetooth to link your device to your car or, if not available, Bluetooth headphones as long as you only wear it in one ear.
- You CAN send messages or place calls while driving but only if the device is in hands-free or voice-activated mode.
- You CAN listen to podcasts or music as long as you’re not scrolling through your audio list while operating the car.
- You CAN send texts through voice commands by linking your phone to your car or through one-touch activation on your phone.
- You CAN use your phone as a GPS as long as you do not need to hold the device.
While the law does not specifically call out other distractions such as eating or disruptive passengers, drivers can still get pulled over and cited for reckless driving. If you are pulled over for holding your phone or other device while driving, expect to be cited and incur a fine.
We encourage drivers to practice safe driving and follow the law to keep themselves and others safe on the road. If you are involved in an accident and need auto body work on your vehicle, Crossroads Collision can help. We are located in Lake Elmo, MN and serve the Eastern Twin Cities metro.