Hands-Free Law Effective August 1
Now is the time to prepare for the new "Hands-Free" law that will take effect August 1, 2019, in Minnesota. 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. You may not hold your phone in your hand. 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 apps, reading texts and scrolling or typing on the phone.
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.
Remember, hands free is not necessarily distraction free. Preliminary numbers show more than 60,000 crashes were distracted driving-related from 2014 – 2018, contributing to nearly one in five crashes in Minnesota and an average of 45 deaths and 204 life-changing injuries a year. Distracted driving crashes are likely under-reported due to law enforcement’s challenge in determining distraction as a crash factor.
Make the Right Choice:
• Cell phones - Put the phone down, turn it off, or place it out of reach.
• Music and other controls - Pre-program radio stations and arrange music in an easy-to-access spot. Adjust mirrors and ventilation before traveling.
• Navigation - Map out the destination and enter the GPS route in advance.
• Eating and drinking - Avoid messy foods and secure drinks.
• Children - Teach children the importance of good behavior in a vehicle and model proper driving behavior.
• Passengers - Speak up to stop drivers from distracted driving behavior and offer to help with anything that takes the driver's attention off the road.
For more information, visit https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ots/hands-free/Documents/hands-free-faq.PDF
Capt. Deric Swenson, 218.299.5186