August 21, 2017

Be Informed

State Laws on Distracted Driving

HomeState Laws on Distracted Driving

Map of Texting BansThe below states and territories have enacted bans on hand-held devices or texting to help reduce the dangers of distracted driving for the public.

Note:
Primary law prohibits ALL types of drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving. A primary law means that an officer can ticket the driver for the offense without any other traffic offense taking place.

Secondary law bans text messaging for ALL types of drivers. A secondary law means an officer can only give you a ticket if you have been pulled over for another driving violation (ie: Hand-held cell phone use).

Click on a state below to learn more on their specific laws.

Alabama

  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on texting for novice drivers. (Primary law)

Note: Alabama defines novice drivers as those age 16 or 17 with an intermediate license less than 6 months

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Alaska

  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)

To view the state legislature ban on texting click here to be taken to another site.

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Arizona

  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for school bus drivers (Primary law)

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Arkansas

  • Handheld ban for drivers age 18-20 years old (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Secondary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)

Note: Arkansas defines novice drivers as all drivers under the age of 18.

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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California

  • Handheld ban for all drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Secondary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)

Note: California defines novice drivers as all drivers under the age of 18.

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Colorado

  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)

Note: Colorado defines novice drivers as all drivers under the age of 18.

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Connecticut

  • Handheld ban for all drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)

Note: Connecticut defines novice drivers as those under the age of 18 or with a learner’s permit.

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Delaware

  • Handheld ban for all drivers (Primary law) effective 1/2/11
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law) effective 1/2/11

Note: Delaware defines novice drivers as those with a learner’s permit or intermediate license holders.

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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District of Columbia

  • Handheld ban for all drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary)

Note: D.C. defines novice drivers as those with a learner’s permit.

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Florida

  • Preemption Law prohibits localities from enacting distracted driving bans.

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Georgia

  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)

Note: Georgia defines novice drivers as all drivers under the age of 18.

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Guam

  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)

To view the territory legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Hawaii

  • No current bans for distracted driving

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Idaho

  • Idaho has a “Distraction in/on Vehicle (List)” attribute as part of its Contributing Circumstances element, and officers are supposed to list the distractions in the narrative.

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Illinois

  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)
  • Illinois bans the use of cell phones while driving in a school zone or in a highway construction zone

Note: Illinois defines novice drivers as all drivers under the age of 19.

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Indiana

  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law), effective 7/1/11

Note: Indiana defines novice drivers as all drivers under the age of 18.

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Iowa

  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Secondary)

Note: Indiana defines novice drivers as all drivers with a restricted or intermediate license.

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Kansas

  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)

Note: Kansas defines novice drivers as all drivers with a learner’s permit or intermediate license.

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Kentucky

  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)
  • Preemption Law prohibits localities from enacting distracted driving bans

Note: Kentucky defines novice drivers as all drivers under the age of 18.

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Louisiana

  • Handheld ban for drivers with a learner’s permit or intermediate license regardless of age
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and Hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law for drivers under 18)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)
  • Preemption Law prohibits localities from enacting distracted driving bans

Note: Louisiana defines novice drivers as those drivers within their 1st year of licensure

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Maine

  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers effective 9/1/11
  • Maine has passed a law making it against the law to drive while distracted in the state

Note: Maine defines novice drivers as all drivers under the age of 18.

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Maryland

  • Handheld ban for all drivers (Secondary law) effective 10/1/10
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Secondary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)

Note: Maryland defines novice drivers as those under the age of 18 with a learner’s permit or provisional license

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Massachusetts

  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and Hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law) effective 9/30/10
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law) effective 9/30/10

Note: Massachusetts defines novice drivers as those under the age of 18 with a learner’s permit or provisional license

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Michigan

  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)
  • In Michigan, teens with probationary licenses whose cell phone usage contributes to a traffic crash or ticket may not use a cell phone while driving

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Minnesota

  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)

Note: Minnesota defines novice drivers as those under the age of 18 with a learner’s permit or provisional license

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Mississippi

  • Ban on texting for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Preemption Law prohibits localities from enacting distracted driving bans

Note: Mississippi defines novice drivers as drivers with a learner’s permit or provisional license

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Missouri

  • Ban on texting for novice drivers (Primary law)

Note: Missouri defines novice drivers as drivers age 21 and under

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Montana

  • No current bans for distracted driving

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Nebraska

  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Secondary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Secondary law)

Note: Nebraska defines novice drivers as those under the age of 18 with a learner’s permit or provisional license

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Nevada

  • No current bans for distracted driving
  • Ban on texting for all drivers effective 7/1/11

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New Hampshire

  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)
  • Dealt with as a distracted driving issue; New Hampshire enacted a comprehensive distracted driving law.

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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New Jersey

  • Handheld ban for all drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)

Note: New Jersey defines novice drivers as those under the age of 21 with a GDL or a provisional license.

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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New Mexico

  • Handheld ban for drivers with in state vehicles

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New York

  • Handheld ban for all drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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North Carolina

  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and Hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and Hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary)

Note: North Carolina defines novice drivers as all drivers under the age of 18.

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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North Dakota

  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and Hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law) (effective1/1/12)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary) (effective 8/1/11)

Note: North Dakota defines novice drivers as all drivers under the age of 18.

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Ohio

  • No current bans for distracted driving

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Oklahoma

  • Handheld ban for drivers with a learner’s permit or intermediate license (Primary law) effective 11/10
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law) effective 11/10
  • Ban on texting for bus drivers (Primary law) effective 11/10
  • Ban on texting for drivers with a learner’s permit or intermediate license (Primary Law) effective 11/10
  • Preemption Law prohibits localities from enacting distracted driving bans

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Oregon

  • Handheld ban for all drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Secondary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)

Note: Oregon defines novice drivers as all drivers under the age of 18.

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Pennsylvania

  • No current distracted driving bans

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Rhode Island

  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)

Note: Rhode Island defines novice drivers as all drivers under the age of 18.

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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South-Carolina

  • South Carolina has a Distracted/Inattention attribute under Contributing Factors.

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South Dakota

  • No current distracted driving bans

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Tennessee

  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and Hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)

Note: Tennessee defines novice drivers as all drivers with a learner’s permit or intermediate license.

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Texas

  • Ban on all cell phone (handheld and Hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone (handheld and Hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on texting for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on texting for bus drivers (Primary law)
  • Texas has banned the use of hand-held phones and texting in school zones

Note: In Texas bus driver laws pertain to bus drivers with passengers age 17 and under.
Novice drivers are defined as all drivers at the intermediate stage, first 12 months.

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Utah

  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)
  • Utah’s law defines careless driving as committing a moving violation (other than speeding) while distracted by use of a handheld cell phone or other activities not related to driving

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Vermont

  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)

Note: Vermont defines novice drivers as all drivers under the age of 18.

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Virgin Islands

  • Handheld ban for all drivers (Primary law)

To view the territory legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Virginia

  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Secondary law; Primary law for bus drivers)

Note: Viriginia defines novice drivers as all drivers under the age of 18.

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Washington

  • Handheld ban for all drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)

Note: Washington defines novice drivers as those with a learner’s permit or in the intermediate state.

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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West Virginia

  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on texting for novice drivers (Primary law)

Note: West Virginia defines novice drivers as all drivers with a learner’s permit or intermediate license.

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Wisconsin

  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law) effective 12/2010

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Wyoming

  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)

To view the state legislature click here to be taken to another site.

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Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration