Minnesota’s New Hands-Free Law

Do you hate it when you are driving and you can clearly tell that someone is on their cell phone?

Well, a new law in Minnesota is designed to help eliminate these dis­tractions and it’s called the Hands-Free law. I will be detailing some of the information associated with this law directly from the Minnesota De­partment of Public Safety website. If you wish to view more informa­tion about the law than what I detail here, just go to dps.mn.gov/divi­sions/ots/hands-free/pages/default.

What can I do under the new law?

The new law allows a driver to use their cell phone to make calls, text, listen to music or podcasts and get directions, but only by voice commands or single-touch activa­tion without holding the phone.

What can’t I do with my phone under the new law?

You may not hold your phone in your hand. Also, a driver may not use their phone at any time for video calling, video live-streaming, Snapchat, gaming, looking at video or photos stored on the phone, using non-navigation apps, reading texts and scrolling or typing on the phone.

Can I ever hold my phone?

Yes. Hand-held phone use is allowed to obtain emergency as­sistance, if there is an immediate threat to life and safety, or when in an authorized emergency vehicle while performing official duties

Can I use a GPS navigation de­vice?

Yes. GPS and other systems that can only be used for navigation are exempt from the Hands-Free law. In-car screens and systems are also exempt.

Does the new Hands-Free law ad­dress smart watches?

Drivers can use them as a con­ventional watch to check time, but smart watches are considered an electronic communications device under the Hands-Free law. That means the device has the same restrictions as a cell phone.

Are there penalties?

Yes. The first ticket is $50, plus court fees, and the second and later tickets are $275, plus court fees.

We currently are experimenting with different methods of hands-free solutions ourselves to see what we think would work well with people’s vehicles, but for most it may be a trial and error scenario.

If you have any questions about the new law, please refer to the aforementioned website, or call us and we can try to answer your questions.

Updated: July 3, 2019 — 12:04 pm