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In April of this year, Governor Tim Walz signed Chapter 11, H.F. 50 into law which went into effect on Thursday, August 1, 2019. The Hands-Free law bans the use of hand-held cell phones while driving in order to prevent distracted driving accidents. Preliminary statistics from 2014 – 2018 reveal that more than 60,000 crashes were related to distracted driving and contributed to nearly one in five crashes in Minnesota. These crashes result in an average of 45 deaths and 204 life-changing injuries each year between 2014 and 2018.
The Hands-Free law does not allow drivers to hold a phone in their hand or 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. The Hands-Free law expands on current Minnesota statutes that ban texting, using email, and browsing social media while driving. Minnesota joins 16 other states and Washington, D.C. in banning handheld cell phone use while driving.
Although the law requires drivers to be ‘hands-free’, it does allow use of voice-activated commands in a ‘hands-free mode’ for calls and other functions like GPS navigation and music applications. GPS and other systems that can only be used for navigation are exempt. In both cases, most of these systems lock when the vehicle is moving.
The Hands-Free law does not apply to drivers outside of traffic or in emergency situations, however. 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.
For more information and additional resources go to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety website, https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ots/hands-free/Pages/default.aspx.
TAKE ACTION TO STOP THE DISTRACTION!
Thursday, October 28, 2021, Student Senate Meeting
Tuesday, November 2, 2021, Meditation in the Compassion Corner
Tuesday, November 9, 2021, U of MN-Rochester Visit and U of WI-La Crosse Visit
Thursday, November 18, 2021, Student Senate Meeting
Tuesday, November 30, 2021, U of MN-Rochester Visit
Thursday, December 2, 2021, Student Senate Meeting
Tuesday, December 7, U of MN-Rochester Visit, Meditation in the Compassion Corner
Thursday, December 16, 2021, Student Senate Meeting