The New Hands-Free Law

The Hands-Free Law goes into effect on August 1, 2019. The law prohibits drivers from holding a phone in their hands while operating a motor vehicle. The law applies the same to adults and minors with a driver’s license, driver’s permit, or provisional driver’s license. Drivers may not use their phones at any time to conduct a video call, video live-stream, Snapchat, play a game, look at videos or photos stored on the phone, use non-navigation apps, read texts, and scroll or type on the phone. Smart watches may only be used for the function of a conventional watch. Because smart watches are considered an electronic communication device, any other use while the driver is a part of traffic is prohibited.

This law does not apply if a driver is using a phone to obtain emergency assistance, but only if there is an immediate threat to life and safety, or when in an authorized emergency vehicle while performing official duties (this includes law enforcement).

The first violation of the law will result in a $50 ticket plus court fees and the second and any later violations result in a $275 ticket plus court fees.


Under the new law, drivers are allowed to use their cellphones to make calls, text, listen to music or podcasts and get directions, but ONLY by voice command or single-touch activation. Drivers must do so without holding their phones. GPS and other systems that can be used solely for navigation are exempt from the Hands-Free Law. In-car screens and systems are also exempt because most of these systems lock while the vehicle is moving.

About Eckberg Lammers, P.C.

2019 marks Eckberg Lammers, P.C.’s 70th year in the St. Croix Valley. Founded in 1949, our firm is one of the most well-known law firms in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. With offices in Stillwater and Hudson, our attorneys serve clients throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin across a wide platform of individual, business and commercial, and municipal practice areas.

Media Contact: Dana Reynolds
Phone: 651-439-2878 | Fax: 651-439-2923

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