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Maple Grove Voice

Hands-Free Law Goes Into Effect in Minnesota August 1

Jul 28, 2019 04:44PM

photo provided by MnDOT

Minnesota’s new hands-free law is in effect, starting Thursday, Aug. 1. 

"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," according to the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety.

Under the new law, driver's are not allowed to hold phones in their hands while driving. Activities such as video calling, watching videos, gaming, and other actions on a cell phone are prohibited.

“Distracted driving is extremely dangerous and has caused far too many traffic accidents, some very serious and even fatal,” Hennepin County Sheriff David P. Hutchinson said. “We urge everyone to obey this new law to help protect themselves, their families, and everyone else on the road. The text that you got while you were driving can wait. Period.”

Information on Minnesota’s hands-free law includes, according to the law enforcement officials:

  • The penalty for the first hands-free violation is $50 plus court fees. Additional tickets are $275 plus court fees.
  • Hand-held phone use is allowed to obtain emergency assistance when there is an immediate threat to life or safety.
  • Tucking a cell phone into a headscarf or head wrap does not violate the hands-free law. However, removing the phone and holding it does violate the law.
  • Smart watches, tablets, e-readers and similar devices are subject to the same restrictions as cell phones.
“The easiest way to prevent yourself from becoming distracted by devices while you’re driving is, of course, to turn your phone on silent mode and put it in a bag away from the driver’s seat. However, there are many easy and inexpensive solutions available to help you utilize your phone or device for calls, podcasts, music and more without your hands leaving the wheel," Maple Grove Device Pitstop Vice President Brad Swenson said. Device Pitstop  is a Minnesota-based company that repairs, upgrades, refurbishes and resells tech devices. 

More information on Minnesota’s new hands-free law can be found at the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety.

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