What You Need To Know About The MN Hands Free Law

Gov. Tim Walz signs the “hands free while driving” law during a bill signing ceremony Friday, April 12, 2019, surrounded by families who have advocated for the law. Briana Bierschbach | MPR News


The Hands Free Law was signed by Gov. Tim Walz last month while surrounded by families who have lost loved ones to distracted driving. While these families have been working for decades to get this bill passed, the work isn’t done. With the Hands Free Law going into affect in August 2019, advocates of the law are now pushing to educate Minnesotans about the new law.


What you can’t do behind the wheel

Texting while driving is already illegal in Minnesota. In addition, accessing your email, browser, social media, etc while driving has been illegal for many years. However, with the new law drivers will no longer be able to hold their phone while on a phone call. Under the new law, drivers can send messages or place calls while driving only if their device is in hands-free or voice-activated mode. The law makes an exception for emergency calls.

In addition, scrolling through your contacts, dialing a phone number, entering an address into your navigation, etc are all illegal under the new law. Bluetooth technology present in many cars allows for you to do all this with your voice.


What is still legal

Using your GPS is still legal in Minnesota, although while driving you cannot touch the screen of your phone to enter in an address or re-route. Make sure all your travel plans are ready to go before you put the car in drive. Starting August 1st, MN Police will be able to pull over anyone holding a phone while driving.


Common Misconceptions

One of the biggest misconceptions about using your phone while driving is that it’s legal to use it while you’re stopped at a stoplight. This is FALSE. Although you are stopped, your car is still in drive and you are considered a distracted driver. Do not check your phone while stopped on the road – you will be pulled over!

Check out this article from MPR for a detailed list of everything you need to know about the Hands Free Law in Minnesota.