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Office of Traffic Safety

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

Distracted Driving

Take Action to Stop the Distraction

Distracted or inattentive driving is when a driver engages in any activity that might distract them from the primary task of driving — and increases their risk of crashing.

Distracted Driving is Dangerous Driving

  • More than 39,000 crashes were distracted driving-related from 2016-2020, contributing to one in nine crashes in Minnesota.

  • In 2020, distracted driving contributed to 2,612 injuries and 29 deaths.

  • Distracted driving contributes to 11 percent of crashes in Minnesota.

    Distracted Driving20162017201820192020Total
    Serious Injuries254218179149160960

With Minnesota’s “Hands-Free” law, it’s illegal for drivers to read, send texts and emails, and access the web while the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic. That includes sitting at a stoplight or stop sign.

  • The first ticket is more than $120, which includes the fine plus court fees.
  • The second and later tickets are more than $300, which includes the fine plus court fees.
  • 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.
  • Visit Hands.FreeMN.org for more information.



Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving

Drivers face many distractions behind the wheel. Share these tips with family and friends to take action to stop the distraction:


  • Cell phones — turn off cell phones, or place them out of reach to avoid the urge to dial or answer. If a passenger is present, ask them to handle calls/texts.

  • Music and other controls — pre-program favorite radio stations for easy access and arrange music (mp3 player/CDs/tapes) in an easy-to-access spot. Adjust mirrors and heat/AC before traveling, or ask a passenger to assist.

  • Navigation — designate a passenger to serve as a co-pilot to help with directions. If driving alone, map out destinations in advance, and pull over to study a map.

  • Eating and drinking — try to avoid food/beverage, at least messy foods, and be sure food and drinks are secured.

  • Children — teach children the importance of good behavior in a vehicle; do not underestimate how distracting it can be to tend to children while driving.

  • Passengers — speak up to stop drivers from distracted driving behavior.

  • When making/receiving a call, ask if the person is driving. If so, ask them to call back at a safer time.

Cell phone use is totally banned for school bus drivers.

Cell phone use is totally banned for teen drivers during their permit and provisional license stages.

Distracted Driving PSAs and Spots