OTS Logo

Office of Traffic Safety

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

Hands-Free Becomes Law

Governor Walz Signs Bipartisan 'Hands-Free' Cell Phone Bill

Legislation aims to create safer roads by reducing distracted driving


[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz signed Chapter 11, H.F. 50, into law April 12. The bipartisan ‘hands-free’ bill that bans the use of hand-held cell phones while driving aims to prevent distracted driving accidents. The bill requires drivers to be ‘hands-free’, but allows use of voice-activated commands in a ‘hands-free mode’ for calls and other functions like GPS navigation and music applications. The law does not apply to drivers outside of traffic or in emergency situations, and expands on current Minnesota statutes that ban texting, using email, and browsing social media while driving.

“Many of the families who have been affected by distracted driving, and who have been tirelessly advocating for this law, are the reason we’re here today,” Governor Walz said. “Minnesotans deserve safe roads and this bipartisan bill helps prevent senseless accidents and improves our public safety.”

“The safety of our roads and drivers is a priority and this long-needed ‘hands-free’ law will reduce the number of fatalities and injuries that are caused by distracted driving,” Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan said. “This is a public safety issue that folks have been able to come together around, and we are proud to support measures that will save lives and reduce the risk of motor vehicle ​accidents.”

Minnesota joins 16 other states and Washington, D.C. in banning handheld cell phone use while driving, with the law becoming effective August 1, 2019.​​​

Video Description: State Patrol Col. Matt Langer and OTS Director Mike Hanson joined families of distracted driving victims and legislators as Gov. Tim Walz signed legislation that bans the use of hand-held cell phones while driving and aims to prevent distracted driving crashes.