Are you fully prepared for the new Minnesota ‘hands-free’ driving law that goes into effect on August 1, 2019? If not, learn about the new rules, what changes you may have to make to your vehicle, and what could happen if you get caught.
What is the ‘hands-free’ driving law?
In 2017, there were 3,166 people killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. To help reduce that number, Minnesota legislators all agreed that we need to be less distracted on the road and put our phones down.
The new rule is simple: when you’re driving, you are not allowed to hold your phone in your hand. Plain and simple.
Drivers may only use their cell phone with voice-activated commands to make calls, send messages, listen to music or podcasts, or get directions.
What can’t I do while driving?
- send text messages and emails
- surf the Internet
- watch videos or video calling
- shooting videos
- playing games
- scroll through your music streaming apps
Can I still use my GPS-only navigational device?
Since you do not hold GPS navigation systems in your hand, single-touch devices that are mounted to your car or installed in your car’s dashboard are exempt from the ‘hands-free’ driving law.
What happens if I’m caught holding my phone while driving?
You may get a $50 fine for your first offense plus court fees and any subsequent violations will result in a $275 fine plus court fees.
After August 1, 2019, police can stop anyone they see holding a phone while driving.
What you can do now
1. Install a hands-free Bluetooth device for your car
If you have a car that doesn’t have Bluetooth feature, a simple search for a Bluetooth car kit on Google and Amazon will give you plenty of affordable options.
2. Get in the hands-free driving habit starting today
The great thing is, you don’t have to wait to put your phone down to drive more carefully! Recent studies by The National Safety Council and Insurance Federation based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that the majority of states that enforced a ‘hands-free’ driving law had a decrease in traffic fatalities by an average of 15%.
Driving hands-free is just the first step to eliminating distractions while driving. Download a printable version of the distracted driving facts to learn more reasons why to stay focused on the road.
Infographic Source: National Safety Council
Coverage From All Sides
With more accidents occurring from distracted driving, do everything you can to reduce your risk of having an accident. Let us know if you have any questions regarding the new Minnesota ‘hands-free’ driving law and we’d be happy to discuss it with you!
Peter Cole, an independent insurance agent and partner at Pentagon Insurance Agency in Elk River, MN, began his career in the industry more than 30 years ago. He prides himself on backing up every sale by giving personal service to each client and by providing the coverage they need at the best possible price. Talk over your insurance situation with Pete today!
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