New Hands-Free Mobile Phone Law in Minnesota

According to the Office of Traffic Safety, Governor Tim Walz signed a hands-free phone bill in Minnesota on April 12 that went into effect August 1, 2019. Minnesota is the next in a long line of states to ban mobile phone use while operating a motor vehicle. However, many people find themselves confused as to exactly when they are and are not allowed to use their phones while behind the wheel. To help mitigate some of that confusion, let’s break the bill down in detail.

What Types of Mobile Phone Use are Permitted?

The new hands-free law allows drivers to use their phones to make calls, texts, ask for directions and listen to music. However, you must only do so using voice or single-action commands. Any action that requires you to press more than a single button on your phone is no longer permitted.

You may also use your phone to secure emergency services, if there is an immediate threat to your life or safety, or when in an authorized emergency vehicle and performing official and authorized duties.

What Types of Cell Phone Use are No Longer Permitted Under the New Bill?

Drivers may not hold their phone in their hand. They must also abstain from video calling, live-streaming, Snapchat messaging, gaming, looking at video or photos stored on the device, using non-navigation apps, reading texts, typing or scrolling.

What About Other Mobile Devices?

It’s the 21st century, and it’s highly likely that you have more than one mobile smart device. Here’s what the new law says about other types of mobile devices:

  • Smart Watches – Smartwatch use is permitted so long as you’re using it to check the time in a conventional fashion. Since these devices are basically cell phones that you wear on your wrist, any other type of action that requires more than one press of a button is not permitted under the new law.
  • GPS Navigation Devices – GPS navigation devices are excempt from the new hands-free law. Most of these devices lock while the vehicle is in motion anyways.
  • Amateur Radio Devices – Amateur radio devices, such as handheld storm watching radars, are exempt from the hands-free law.

Penalties for Breaking the Hands-Free Law

There are definitely penalties for breaking this new hands-free mobile device law. The first time you’re caught, you’ll be fined $50 plus court fees. Further offenses will cost you $275 plus court fees each.

How to Go Hands-Free

There are several different steps you can take to go hands-free. Some of those things include:

  • Putting your devices out of arms reach like in your purse or the trunk of your car.
  • Investing in a bluetooth hands-freee headset for your device.
  • Purchasing a replacement radio that has bluetooth and hands-free communication features.
  • Buying a mounting device for your phone and using its built-in one-touch mode or hands-free mode.

If you have any questions regarding the new hands-free law in Minnesota, then the expert bondsmen here at The Bail Bonds Doctor, Inc. are always standing by to help. Give us a call today