Minnesota Hands-Free Law Explained

Effective as of August 1, 2019, the Minnesota hands-free law prohibits drivers from holding their cellphone in their hand while operating a motor vehicle.

However, hands-free doesn’t necessarily mean distraction-free.

Motorists can use the voice-control feature and single-touch activation to make calls, texts, get directions, or listen to music. In addition, in-car screens and navigation systems are exempt from the law.

If you wish to place your cellphone on the windshield, it needs to be mounted on the lowest portion of the windshield. As long as you are not holding your phone, you can rest it in your cup holder or passenger seat.

When it comes to smartwatches, the hands-free law considers them an electronic communications device. This means smartwatches are treated just like cellphones, so voice or one-touch activation is permitted—not typing or texting.

The law doesn’t apply to drivers under 18 years of age with a provisional driver’s license or driver’s permit. They are not allowed to text or make/answer phone calls, but they can use their phone for directions, music, and calling 911 for emergencies.

In an emergency, it is legal to stop on the should of your road and make a call or text. However, doing so isn’t the safest option, which is why it is best to get off the road entirely and stop by a gas station or convenience store.

The first offense for violating the state’s hands-free law leads to a $50 fine, while a second or subsequent offense results in a $275 fine. Both penalties do not include court costs.

If you have been charged with a traffic offense in Minneapolis and risk going to jail, contact Brockton D. Hunter P.A. today at (612) 979-1112 and schedule a free case review.