While this may sound difficult to believe, Minnesota’s hands-free law is set to take begin on August 1, 2019, which is less than a month away. The new law is expected to crack down on the use of cell phones while Minnesotans are on the roads. With society’s ever-increasing dependence on smartphones, we’ve become addicted to the unsafe notion of using our smartphones at all times, including when we drive on the roads. Using a smartphone while driving grew into a major epidemic in Minnesota, so to address the issue, Minnesota passed a new hands-free law. So if you aren’t aware of the new law, or you aren’t certain about all that entails, we’ve got you covered with a few answers to frequently asked questions.
FAQs About Minnesota’s Hands-Free Law
If you’re new to Minnesota’s Hands-Free Law, don’t worry. We’ve got plenty of FAQs answered for you below.
Q: What do I need to avoid under the law?
A: You need to avoid holding your phone in your hand while driving or holding your phone up to your ear while driving in Minnesota. Hands-free, in this case, really does mean hands-free.
Q: Can I use my smartwatch instead?
A: No. Your smartwatch falls under the same rules as your smartphone. You can check the time or use a voice-activated feature to operate the watch. However, you still are not allowed to type messages while you drive.
Q: Can I use my phone to listen to music or podcasts?
A: Yes, you can still use your phone to listen to music or podcasts. However, legally, you can only begin them by using a voice-activated setting or a one-touch setting. You are also allowed to turn them on prior to driving on the road, and while you are still parked.
Q: Are there any exceptions to the hands-free law?
A: If you are using your smartphone during an emergency situation, then you are allowed to use your phone in a hand-held mode. You are allowed to use your phone or GPS while your phone is in a hands-free or voice-activated setting. For example, you cannot type in an address in your GPS while on the road. However, you can use your GPS if you are parked, then type in the address before you start driving.
Q: Can I use my phone if I am at a stop sign or if I am at a stoplight?
A: No. It is still considered a violation of the law for you to hold the phone while you are operating the vehicle at any point.
Q: Is it okay for me to use a headset if I want to talk on the phone?
A: You are still allowed to talk on a headset, but you cannot hold the phone at any point or have earbuds in both ears. You are breaking the law if you use earbuds in both ears.
Q: If I’m under 18, does the law apply to me?
A: Yes. Actually, if you are a teen driver, you have even more restrictions placed on you while you are behind the wheel. Teens are only allowed to listen to music or podcasts and use their phones for navigation while driving as long as they are in hands-free mode or one-touch mode.
Q: If I’m an out-of-state driver, can I still be pulled over?
A: Yes. Any driver that passes through Minnesota has to comply with Minnesota’s new hands-free law.