Distracted Driving

Driving is a complex task that requires the attention and concentration of the driver. Driver distraction is a leading factor in crashes in Minnesota, contributing to an average of 28 deaths and 161 serious, life changing injuries a year of motorists on the road. Making the commitment to safe driving is an integral part of this campaign and employers can use the resources and campaign incentives to drive home their concern for the safety of their workforce while on the road.

What You Can Do

Key Messages

1. Distracted Driving is Dangerous Driving in Minnesota

  • In 2021, preliminary figures show distracted driving contributed to 2,165 injuries and 26 deaths.
  • Distracted driving contributed to one in nine crashes from 2017-2021.

Progress – But Improvement Is Needed

  • In 2010, there were:
    • 75 distraction-related traffic fatalities.
    • 234 suspected serious injuries.
  • In 2021, preliminary figures show there were:
    • 26 distraction-related traffic fatalities.
    • 101 suspected serious injuries.
  • Recent figures show:

2. It’s a myth to think we can multitask behind the wheel

  • Distractions of any kind are all potentially deadly:
    • There’s visual distraction like looking away from the road.
    • There’s physical distraction like taking your hands off the wheel to do something else.
    • There’s cognitive distraction like being lost in thought.
    • There’s the combination of all of these like texting while driving.
  • If you text while driving, on average, you take your eyes off the road for up to 4.6 out of every six seconds. That’s like traveling the length of a football field at 55 mph hours without looking up.
  • No one intends to seriously injure or kill someone by driving distracted. But good intentions don’t prevent crashes – smart choices do.

Hands Free


  • The hands-free cell phone law means drivers can no longer hold their phone in their hand.
  • A driver can use voice commands or single-touch activation without holding the phone to make calls, text, listen to music or podcasts, and get directions.
  • Accessing or posting on social media, streaming videos, checking box scores, and Googling information on a device while driving is all still against the law in Minnesota, even in hands-free mode.


    • $100 or more including court fees for a first offense.
    • $300 or more including court fees for a second and/or subsequent offense.
    • If you injure or kill someone while violating 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 safe 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 HandsFreeMN.org and DriveSmartMN.org for more information.

Hands-Free Cell Phone Resources

Hands-Free How To for Employers

Hands-Free Facts for Drivers

Hands-Free Myths and Facts for Drivers Under 18

Hands-Free Cell Phone Use Infographic

Hands-Free Law Fact Sheet

Go Hands-Free: How To Video

Hands-Free Refresher Video

Additional Tools for Employers

Hands-Free Cellphone Law Resources

Preventing Distracted Driving: Comprehensive Resources for Employers

Fact Sheets and Infographics

So, You Think You Can Multitask

The Distraction Is Coming From Inside Your Car

It Takes 4 Seconds To Drive the Distance of a Football Field

Social Media Graphics

NSC Distracted Driving Awareness Month 2023

The assets below were provide by the National Safety Council



The Council’s flagship publication, Safety+Health magazine, provides a wealth of knowledge. Check out articles from the past year focused on distracted driving risks:

Work zone survey: majority of contractors impacted by crashes in past year

Pedestrian deaths continue to climb

Survey shows a third of executives expect workers to answer calls while driving

A safe walk; tips for pedestrians and drivers

NSC Safe Driving Kit:

Safer workers on our roads mean safer conditions for us all. Learn the facts about the #1 cause of workplace deaths and how to reduce the risks for yourself, your workers and everyone else using our roads with the NSC Safe Driving Kit.

Distracted Driving Report:

Get a better understanding of distracted driving with this NSC report, “Understanding Driver Distraction.” In it, NSC presents research behind recommendations to ban the use of cell phones and in-vehicle technologies while driving.

NSC Policy Statement:

Distracted driving is an issue for every person on our roads, whether they are a driver, passenger, or pedestrian. Get a full understanding of this issue and the role employers can play in stopping it in this NSC policy statement.

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