On August 1, 2019, Minnesota’s new Hands-Free Law goes into effect on Minnesota roads. Minnesotans can no longer hold their phone to make or receive calls while operating a motor vehicle. Additionally, the law prohibits drivers from video calling, Snapchatting, video live streaming, reading texts, and typing on their phones. Drivers may use their cell phone to make calls, text, listen to music and access GPS navigation apps but only by using hands free technology such as voice commands and single-touch activation. The law for drivers under the age of 18 with a driver’s permit or provisional driver’s license has not changed. These teens are not permitted to make or answer calls even if the call is on a hands-free system. Teens still can use their phone’s GPS navigation apps in hands-free mode.
Hand-held phone use is only allowed in emergency situations if there is an immediate threat to life and safety or when the user is in an authorized emergency vehicle performing official duties.
While distracted driving can take many forms including eating, talking to passengers, and having pets in the car, having a phone in your hand presents a pervasive and unique danger on Minnesota roads. Minnesotans have always had a legal duty to drive with due care. However, the new Hands-Free Law aims to make Minnesota roads safer by allowing law enforcement to take more effective action when they see a driver holding a phone.
If you are seriously injured due to distracted driving, contact personal injury attorney Travis J. Adams at Melchert Hubert Sjodin to discuss your rights.