The Land Of 10,000 Tickets? Almost 10,000 Hands-Free Tickets Written
The 'new' Minnesota hands-free law went into effect back on August 1st, 2019. Since that time nearly 10,000 Minnesota motorists have been ticketed for using their cell phones while driving. That's roughly 56 tickets written each day by law enforcement for drivers not being able to put down their phones.
Hands-Free Law Do’s and Don’ts
- You can’t hold your phone while driving.
- You can place your phone anywhere in the vehicle as long as you are not holding it with your hand. If mounted on the windshield, it must be in the lower part of the windshield, not obstructing your view.
- The new law allows a driver to use their cell phone to make calls, text, listen to music or podcasts and get directions, but only by voice commands or single-touch activation without holding the phone.
- Drivers may not use their phone at any time for video calling, video live-streaming, Snapchat, gaming, looking at video or photos stored on the phone, using non-navigation apps, reading texts and scrolling or typing on the phone.
- GPS devices and other systems that can only be used for navigation are exempt from the hands-free law. In-car screens and systems are also exempt. In both cases, most of these systems lock when the vehicle is moving.
- Hand-held phone use is allowed to obtain emergency assistance, if there is an immediate threat to life and safety, or when in an authorized emergency vehicle while performing official duties.
- More FAQs are available at HandsFreeMN.org
If you are found to have been using your phone illegally while driving the penalties are:
- More than $120 that includes the fine plus court costs for a first offense.
- More than $300 that includes fine plus court costs for a first offense second and/or subsequent offense.
- Potential for increased insurance rates.
- If you injure or kill someone under the hands-free law, you can face a felony charge of criminal vehicular operation or homicide.
An even more disturbing fact coming from Minnesota roadways is that as of January 13, there have already been nearly 1,000 DWI arrests in 2020.