Minnesota left lane, hands-free rules in effect Aug. 1

July 30, 2019

Keith Goble


The first of August in Minnesota marks the start date for multiple new road safety rules.

One new law addresses concern about drivers lingering in the passing lane.

Left lane restrictions

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the National Motorists Association say that blocking the left lane, whether intentional or not, results in reduced road safety and efficiency.

Minnesota law already requires any vehicle moving at less than the normal speed of traffic to stay to the right. Violators can face $50 fines.

The new rule taking effect on Thursday, Aug. 1, calls for penalizing lollygaggers in the far left-hand lane of highways. The provision does not specify how slow a vehicle must be traveling in the left lane to be in violation.

Fines for failure to allow another vehicle to pass would include a surcharge of $75, bringing the total fine amount to $125.

“We’ve all been stuck behind slow moving drivers hogging the left lane, even though that lane is only supposed to be used for passing,” Sen. John Jasinski, R-Faribault, said in previous remarks. “Our commutes are already hard enough. It’s time to ease some stress by adding Minnesota to the list of states that penalizes left-lane drivers.”

Hands-free devices

Another new law in effect this week is intended to reduce distractions behind the wheel.

As of Aug. 1, drivers will no longer be permitted to hold their cellphones in their hands.

Exceptions would be made under specific circumstances to make calls, text, listen to music or podcasts, and to get directions. The actions would be permitted only by voice commands or single-touch activation without holding the phone.