On Aug. 1, 2019, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety will begin enforcing its new hands-free while driving cell phone law. The law is intended to combat the distracted driving epidemic and the increasing rate of related accidents. The National Safety Council estimates 25 percent of crashes involve cell phones.

5 Things You Should Know 

1. Drivers may no longer hold or scroll through their phone while in motion, while stopped by a control device (e.g., stoplight or stop sign), or while in any part of traffic.

2. Drivers may legally use their phone as long as they are able to do so by voice command or single-touch activation.

3. Drivers must set their destination before they are in motion when using their phone as a GPS device.

4. Monetary fines are associated with phone use while driving. Injuring or killing someone due to distraction or illegal use of a phone can result in felony charges.

5. If there is an immediate threat to life, a driver can legally hold their phone to call 911.

 

CAUTION: Even though using a cell phone through voice command and single-touch activation is hands-free and legal under the new law, these actions still cause distractions while driving.

For more information, including a list of ways you can be hands-free, visit handsfreemn.org or go directly to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety fact sheet linked below.

If you have questions related to this update, please contact your North Risk Partners advisor. Don’t have an advisor? No problem. We’ll help you find one.

This regulatory update is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice.