Remember, drivers, 'slowpoke' and cellphone laws go live this week

Laws will limit cellphone use while driving and crack down on left lane "slowpokes."
Publish date:

This Thursday will mark a new era in driving in Minnesota, as two major new laws come into effect on Aug. 1.

Here's what you need to know about the "slowpoke" and hands-free laws.

Left lane “slowpoke” law

Sen. Jon Jasinski’s (R-Faribault) bill imposes a fine on drivers clogging up the left lane of traffic.

Under the law, which Jasinski announced was signed into law in May, drivers traveling below the speed limit in the left lane could receive a $125 fine.

The law is intended to prevent traffic hold-ups in the left lane. The fine is only imposed if the driver in moving slowly in the left lane does not allow others to pass. But the law does not allow for speeding in the left lane.

Per WCCO, Jasinski said he frequently encounters slow left lane drivers traveling from Faribault to the metro.

Hands-free law

The Legislature passed Minnesota’s hands-free driving law in April with bipartisan support, with Gov. Tim Walz signing on shortly after.

Under the law, drivers can only use cell phones for single-touch or voice operation. That means drivers cannot hold a phone in their hands for any reason, including calls, texts and video streaming .

“Hand up and drive. Your life, and the life of your fellow travelers depend on it,” author Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis) said on the House floor in March.

Navigation systems are exempt from this law, but the Minnesota Department of Public Safety notes these systems typically lock when the car is in motion. Emergency calls are also an exemption.

Follow Bring Me The News on LinkedIn

Hands-free devices can include Bluetooth devices and speakers, phone clips and AUX cables. Tends under 18 years of age cannot make or receive calls, whether hands-free or not.

Despite some disagreement between lawmakers, the eventual bill does allow individuals to use a phone tucked in a hijab or headscarf.

According to the DPS, citations for distracted driving has gone up from 2,177 in 2012 to 9,545 in 2018. These incidents also accounted for one in five crashed in the state from 2014 to 2018. 

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-06-20 at 9.21.00 AM

Updates on Minnesotans bidding for spots at the Summer Olympics

St. Paul's Suni Lee could qualify for the U.S. gymnastics team this week.

golf cart

Federal charges: Minnesota man stole 63 golf carts in 7 states

Nathan Rodney Nelson has been federally charged with transportation of stolen vehicles across state lines.

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

1 dead, 1 wounded in separate St. Cloud shootings

It was one of two shootings that happened overnight in the city.

Byron Buxton

Buxton, Kepler lead Twins to weekend sweep over Rangers

Kenta Maeda's solid outing on the mound gave the Twins a 4-2 victory.

storm, severe weather

Severe thunderstorm watch issued for south Minnesota, tornadoes possible

The watch area is just to the south of the Twin Cities.


10 injured when minivans collide, overturn in west-central Minnesota

The incident occurred at the intersection of County Road 1 and County Road 29 in Kandiyohi County.

William Carlson

Nearly 80 years later, Minnesotan honored for WWII heroism

He defended a sinking passenger ship from a U-boat.

ambulance, crash

Pedestrian fatally struck by driver in Brooklyn Park

The identity of the victim has not been released.

storm, severe weather, shelf cloud

Some storms could pack a punch Sunday afternoon

Widespread severe weather is not expected, but some storms could get feisty.


Slowpoke law goes into effect on Minnesota roads August 1

Best start practicing moving over for vehicles moving faster in the left lane.


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

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

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.

Hey, lane-weaving drivers, where y'all going so fast?

70mph isn't quick enough for them, so they feel the need to dodge between lanes.


Hands-free phone requirement for MN drivers is nearing reality

The Senate passed a bill requiring hands-free cellphone use.