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Sgt. Troy Christianson mug

Sgt. Troy Christianson of the Minnesota State Patrol

Question: With the upcoming new hands-free law that is effective Aug. 1, can a teen who is under 18 and has a driver’s permit or provisional driver’s license use a phone in hands-free mode?

Answer: The new hands-free law does not change anything for teens under 18 with a driver’s permit or provisional driver’s license: They cannot make or answer calls while driving (hand-held or hands-free). They can use their phone in hands-free mode in these situations:

  • Using their phone as a GPS device, but only in hands-free or voice-activated mode.
  • They must set their destination before driving.
  • They can’t hold their phone at any time.
  • Listening to music or podcasts in hands-free or voice-activated mode is OK, but hand-held scrolling through playlists or channels is not allowed under the law.

Teens under 18 are allowed to use the phone in either hand-held or hands-free mode for emergency situations only.

Learn more about the law and frequently asked questions at HandsFreeMN.org.

You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober.

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If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson – Minnesota State Patrol at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester MN 55901-5848. (Or reach him at Troy.Christianson@state.mn.us)

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