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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Posted on 03/30/2023

While behind the wheel, driving safely and attentively is the priority. Unfortunately, many drivers engage in activities which distract them from their primary task. Distracted driving isn’t just risky for you; it can be deadly for every nearby driver, pedestrian, bicyclist and worker. From 2016 until 2020, more than 39,000 crashes were distracted driving-related, contributing to one in nine crashes in Minnesota.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the New Hope Police Department and Minnesota Department of Public Safety want to encourage everyone to take action to stop the distraction. Officers across the state, including New Hope, will be conducting extra enforcement to target distracted drivers.

Hands-free cell phone use became law in Minnesota in 2019. That means drivers cannot hold their phones in their hands. Accessing or posting on social media, streaming videos, checking box scores or searching information on a device while driving is against the law in Minnesota, even in hands-free mode.

The hands-free cell phone law allows a driver to use their cell phone to make calls, text, listen to music or podcasts and get directions, but only by voice commands or single-touch activation without holding the phone. Remember, hands-free is not necessarily distraction-free.

  • The first ticket is more than $120, which includes the fine plus court fees.
  • Subsequent 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.


  • Cell phones: Park the phone by putting it down, turning it off, placing it out of reach or going hands-free.
  • Music and other controls: Pre-program radio stations and arrange music in an easy-to-access spot. Adjust mirrors and ventilation before traveling.
  • Navigation: Map out the destination and enter the GPS route in advance.
  • Eating and drinking: Avoid messy foods and secure drinks.
  • Children: Teach children the importance of good behavior in a vehicle and model proper driving behavior.
  • Passengers: Speak up to stop drivers from distracted driving behavior and offer to help with anything that takes the driver’s attention off the road.

Visit or for more information, and as always, stay safe!

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