distracted-driving (1)

Distracted Driving Laws

distracted-driving (1)
June 2014
This chart outlines state distracted driving laws. Some localities have additional regulations. Enforcement type is shown in parenthesis.

Hand-held Cell Phone Use: 12 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving. Beginning in October 2013, all laws will be primary enforcement—an officer may cite a driver for using a hand-held cell phone without any other traffic offense taking place.
Learn More About Distracted Driving

Issue Brief

Distracted Driving Publications

State Media Campaigns

Tips to Avoid Distractions

Related Links

All Cell Phone Use: No state bans all cell phone use for all drivers, but 37 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use bynovice drivers, and 20 states and D.C. prohibit it forschool bus drivers.
Text Messaging: Washington was the first state to pass a texting ban in 2007. Currently, 43 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers. All but 5 have primary enforcement. Of the 7 states without an all driver texting ban:
4 prohibit text messaging by novice drivers.
3 restrict school bus drivers from texting.

Crash Data Collection: Nearly all states include at least one category for distraction on police crash report forms, although the specific data collected varies. The Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria (MMUCC) guideline provides best practices on distraction data collection.

Preemption Laws: Many localities have passed their own distracted driving bans. However, some states – such as Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma – prohibit localities from enacting such laws.

State Hand-held Ban All Cell Phone Ban Text Messaging Ban Crash
Data
School Bus Drivers Novice Drivers All
Drivers
School Bus Drivers Novice Drivers
Alabama 16, or 17 w/ Intermediate License <6 months
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Alaska Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Arizona Yes
(Primary)
Yes
Arkansas 1 18 – 20 years old (Primary) Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Secondary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
California Yes
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Secondary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Colorado <18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Connecticut Yes
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban
Delaware Yes
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Learner or Intermediate License (Primary) Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
D.C. Yes
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Learners Permit
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Florida Yes
(Secondary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Georgia Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Guam Yes
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban
Hawaii Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Idaho Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Illinois Yes
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
<19
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Indiana <18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Iowa Restricted or Intermediate License
(Primary)
Yes
(Secondary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Kansas Learner or Intermediate License
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Kentucky Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Louisiana Learner or Intermediate License
(regardless of age)
Yes
(Primary)
1st year of License
(Primary for <18)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Maine <18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Maryland Yes
(Primary)
<18 w/ Learner or Provisional License
(Secondary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Massachusetts Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Michigan Yes
(Primary)
Level 1 or 2 License
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Minnesota Yes
(Primary)
<18 w/ Learner or Provisional License
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Mississippi Yes
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Learner or Provisional License
(Primary)
Yes
Missouri <21
(Primary)
Yes
Montana Yes
Nebraska <18 w/ Learner or Intermediate License
(Secondary)
Yes
(Secondary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Nevada Yes
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
New Hampshire 2 Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban
New Jersey Yes
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Permit or Provisional License
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
New Mexico In State vehicles Learner or Provisional License
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
(eff. 7/2014)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
New York Yes
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
North Carolina Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
North Dakota <18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Ohio <18
(Primary)
Yes
(Secondary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Oklahoma Learner or Intermediate License
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Learner or Intermediate License
(Primary)
Yes
Oregon Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Pennsylvania Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Puerto Rico Yes
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban
Rhode Island Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
South Carolina Yes
South Dakota Learner or Intermediate License
(Secondary)
Yes
(Secondary)
(eff. 7/2014)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Tennessee Yes
(Primary)
Learner or Intermediate License
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Texas 3 Yes, w/ passenger<17
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes, w/ passenger<17
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
Utah Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Vermont In work zones <18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Virgin Islands Yes
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Virginia Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Secondary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Washington Yes
(Primary)
Learner or Intermediate Licence
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
West Virginia Yes
(Primary)
<18 w/ Learner or Intermediate Licence
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Wisconsin Learner or Intermediate Licence
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Wyoming <18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Total States 12 + D.C. PR, Guam, Virgin Islands
All Primary
20 + D.C.
All Primary
37 + D.C.
Primary (31 + D.C.)
Secondary (6)
43 + D.C., PR, Guam, Virgin Islands
Primary (38 + D.C., PR, Guam, Virgin Islands)
Secondary (5)
3
All Primary
4
All Primary
48 + D.C., Virgin Islands

 

1 Arkansas also bans the use of hand-held cell phones while driving in a school zone or in a highway construction zone. This law is secondarily enforced.
2 Dealt with as a distracted driving issue; New Hampshire enacted a comprehensive distracted driving law.
3 Texas has banned the use of hand-held phones and texting in school zones.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *