Skip to main content

Minnesota Senate passes hands-free cellphone requirement for drivers

This comes a week after the House passed its own bill.

Minnesota is on the road to becoming the 18th state in the U.S. to require hands-free use of cellphones while making a call.

The state Senate passed its version of a hands-free bill Monday by a 56-10 vote, one week after the House OK'd its version 106-21. Meaning after years of effort, the Minnesota Legislature appears poised to make this law.

“Cell phone abuse on the roadways is a growing problem. This isn’t about restricting liberties; it’s a matter of public safety. The purpose of this bill is to encourage drivers to use their phones in a hands-free manner – or put it down,” said Sen. Scott Newman in a statement Monday.

“Drivers have a responsibility to themselves, their passengers, and the others on the road. We need to reinforce just how dangerous cell phone use while driving can be, and that’s what this bill is intended to do.”

It's not quite a done deal however.

Both bills do prohibit drivers from making a call outside of hands-free mode, but some of the details need to be ironed out.

For example, the Senate bill allows drivers to use their phones as normal for navigation - whereas the House bill requires hands-free actions for directions

And the Senate bill specifically allows drivers to hold the phone in a hijab or other item of clothing in order to be hands-free, while the House bill doesn't specifically address it.

Follow Bring Me The News on LinkedIn

The exact details will be sorted out in conference committee. If they agree to a final version and the House and Senate pass identical bills, it will go to Gov. Tim Walz for his signature.

At that point, Session Daily says Minnesota would be the 18th state in the U.S. (plus Washington D.C.) to require hands-free device usage from drivers.

Of course, texting and using the internet while driving is already against the law in Minnesota. Yet texting behind the wheel remains a huge concern for officials, with law enforcement handing out more than 9,500 tickets for the offense last year. And in 2018, there were 27 distraction-related fatal crashes, up from 25 the year before.

Next Up


Winter weather advisory issued as Saturday snow arrives

Not huge totals expected, but any snow will likely impact travel.


Report: Ryan Poles is Vikings' 'top choice' for general manager

Poles was one of two finalists revealed on Friday.

Payton Willis

Willis carries shorthanded Gophers to beat Rutgers

The senior scored a career-high 32 points to end a four-game losing streak.


Charges: St. Paul man had sexual contact 'multiple times' with 12-year-old girl

Marcus Steichen, 21, is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 6.45.53 PM

Charges: Mom killed infant son just weeks after getting him back from foster care

The 10-month-old died in her care in Brooklyn Park last April.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Arrests made following fentanyl bust in St. Cloud

Authorities searched two St. Cloud apartments Friday morning.

potatoes 2

Minnesota's 'frozen potato freeway' closure attracts plenty of comment

It was, let's face it, a very Minnesotan reason for a freeway closure.

Screen Shot 2022-01-21 at 9.07.54 AM

U of M fraternity raises money for chef's knee surgery

The GoFundMe has raised around $1,700 of its $5,000 goal.

unsplash restaurant cashier register COVID face mask - crop

7 restaurant, bar groups sue Minneapolis over dining vaccine mandate

"Minneapolis bars and restaurants are being used as pawns..." the lawsuit said.

Screen Shot 2022-01-22 at 7.47.53 AM

Woman fatally shot in St. Paul's North End neighborhood

It's the fourth homicide so far this year in St. Paul.


Wild flip the script, dominate Blackhawks

Ryan Hartman scored twice to earn the first game of a back-to-back.

Hopkins Basketball

Hopkins suffers rare loss to No. 1 ranked Sidwell Friends

The Royals held their own in a battle of the nation's best.



Gov. Walz signs 'hands free' cellphone bill into law

Fines for violating the law could cost drivers up to $275.

Screen Shot 2019-08-01 at 12.39.25 PM

Citations aplenty on first day of hands-free law in MN

One guy was caught texting about the hands-free law.

'Hands free' phone bill passes House, expected to become law this week

A compromise bill passed the Minnesota House on Tuesday.

MN Senate passes transportation bill - with no gas tax hike

This sets up a showdown with the House and Gov. Tim Walz.

State Patrol reveals shocking instances of drivers' cellphone use

Snapchat, online shopping, and sending emails while driving were among the infractions.

Talking on the phone while driving could be banned in MN

A bill to limit cellphone use at the wheel to hands-free devices has taken the first step.

No solution in sight for the problems with Minnesota driver's licenses

There are 3 lines in the bill that Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans are arguing over.