By Alyssa Enno Mille Lacs Band Member
On August 1, 2019, a new hands-free law went into effect for Minnesota drivers. Governor Tim Walz signed the bill April 12, 2019. The law was created to keep drivers off their phones so the roads are free of distracted drivers.
Here are a few reminders on what you can and can't do under the new law:
Use their cell phones to make calls, text, listen to music, and get directions ONLY by voice commands OR single-touch activation.
Use hand-held phone for emergency assistance needs, an immediate threat to life and safety, or when in an authorized emergency vehicle.
Use their phone as a GPS navigation device only if it is used for navigation purposes.
Hold the phone in their hand.
Use their phone at any time for video calling, live-streaming, social media use, gaming, looking at videos or photos, using non-navigation apps, reading or composing text messages, checking emails, and scrolling or typing on their phone.
Stop on the shoulder of an interstate freeway or a controlled access highway.
If you are caught breaking the hands-free law, the first ticket is $50 but jumps to $275 for each violation after that.
Be careful with smartwatches; under the new law they are considered an electronic communications device! This means they have the same restrictions as cell phones.
If you have to respond to a text, phone call, e-mail, or need to check directions, wait until you are off the road and parked. With the new hands-free law you cannot do any of those things while you are stopped at a light in traffic.
Let's keep our roads safe and stay off our phones!
How You Can Go Hands-Free
- Pair your phone to your vehicle using Bluetooth connectivity.
- Buy an auxiliary cable to connect your phone to your vehicle to use voice-activation or single touch.
- Older vehicles can use an adapter that fits into the cassette player.
- Buy a holder to clip or mount your phone to the dash. You can use voice-activation or single touch.
- Don't use your phone when you drive. Put it away or use a do-not-disturb mode or app.