Cellular Phone Use and Texting While Driving Laws

5/29/2019

driving while on phone The prevalence of cellular phones, new research, and publicized crashes has started many debates related to the role cellphones play in driver distraction. This chart details state cellular phone use and texting while driving laws.

  • Hand-held cellphone use ban: 20 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cellphones while driving.
  • All cellphone ban: No state bans all cellphone use for all drivers, but 38 states and D.C. ban all cellphone use by novice or teen drivers, and 21 states and D.C. prohibit any cellphone use for school bus drivers.
  • Text messaging ban: 48 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers.
    • Missouri prohibits text messaging by novice or teen drivers.

Source:  Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 2019. 

The box allows you to conduct a full text search or type the state name.

Enacted Cellphone Legislation
States Hand-held ban All cellphone ban Texting ban Enforcement Crash Data Collection 
Alabama No Drivers age 16 and 17 who have held an intermediate license for less than 6 months. All drivers

Primary

 
Alaska No No All drivers Primary Yes
Arizona

Yes (Drivers will receive a warning for violation until 1/1/21. Eff. 1/1/21, drivers will receive a civil penalty for violation).

School bus drivers; Learner's permit and provisional license holders during the first six months after licensing. All drivers

Primary: cellphone use by school bus drivers
Secondary: cellphone use by young drivers 

Yes
Arkansas Drivers ages 18 to 20 years of age; school and highway work zones School bus drivers, drivers younger than 18 All drivers

Primary: for texting by all drivers and cellphone use by school bus drivers.
Secondary: for cellphone use by young drivers, drivers in school and work zones

Yes
California All drivers School and transit bus drivers and drivers younger than 18 All drivers Primary: hand held and texting by all drivers.
Secondary: all cellphone use by young drivers.
Yes
Colorado No Drivers younger than 18 All drivers Primary Yes
Connecticut All drivers Learner's permit holders, drivers younger than 18, and school bus drivers All drivers Primary  
Delaware All drivers Learner's permit and intermediate license holders and school bus drivers All drivers Primary

Yes

District of Columbia All drivers School bus drivers and learner's permit holders All drivers Primary Yes
Florida No No All drivers Primary Yes
Georgia All drivers  School bus drivers. Drivers younger than 18. All drivers Primary Yes
Hawaii All Drivers Drivers younger than 18 All Drivers Primary  
Idaho No No All Drivers Primary Yes***
Illinois All Drivers Learner's permit holders younger than 19, drivers younger than 19, and school bus drivers All drivers Primary Yes
Indiana No Drivers under the age of 21. All drivers Primary Yes
Iowa No Learner's permit and intermediate license holders All drivers Primary: for all offenses  Yes
Kansas No Learner's permit and intermediate license holders All drivers Primary Yes
Kentucky No Drivers younger than 18, School Bus Drivers. All drivers Primary Yes
Louisiana No School bus drivers, learner's permit and intermediate license holders, drivers under age 18 All drivers Primary Yes
Maine** All drivers (eff. 9/19/19) Learner's permit and intermediate license holders All drivers Primary Yes
Maryland All drivers, School Bus Drivers. Learner's permit and intermediate license holders under 18. School bus drivers. All drivers Primary Yes
Massachusetts Local option School bus drivers,
passenger bus drivers, drivers younger than 18.
All drivers Primary Yes
Michigan Local option Level 1 or 2 license holders. All drivers Primary Yes
Minnesota Yes (Eff. 8/1/19) School bus drivers, learner's permit holders, and provisional license holders during the first 12 months after licensing All drivers Primary Yes
Mississippi No School bus drivers. All drivers Primary Yes
Missouri No No Drivers 21 years or younger. Primary  
Montana No No No Not applicable Yes
Nebraska No Learner's permit and intermediate license holders younger than 18

All drivers

Secondary Yes
Nevada All drivers No All drivers Primary Yes
New Hampshire All drivers  Drivers younger than 18 All drivers Primary  
New Jersey All drivers School bus drivers, and learner's permit and intermediate license holders All drivers Primary Yes
New Mexico Local option Learner's permit and intermediate license holders.

All Drivers

Primary Yes
New York All drivers No All drivers Primary Yes
North Carolina No Drivers younger than 18 and school bus drivers All drivers Primary  
North Dakota No Drivers younger than 18 All drivers Primary Yes
Ohio Local option Drivers younger than 18. All drivers Primary: for drivers younger than 18.
Secondary: for texting by all drivers.
 
Oklahoma Learner's permit and intermediate license holders, school bus drivers and public transit drivers School Bus Drivers and Public Transit Drivers All Drivers. Primary Yes
Oregon All drivers Drivers younger than 18 All drivers Primary Yes
Pennsylvania Local option No All drivers Primary Yes
Puerto Rico All drivers   All drivers Primary  
Rhode Island All drivers  School bus drivers and drivers younger than 18 All drivers Primary Yes
South Carolina No No All drivers Primary Yes***
South Dakota No Learner's permit and intermediate license holders All drivers Secondary Yes
Tennessee Yes School bus drivers, and learner's permit and intermediate license holders All drivers Primary Yes
Texas Drivers in school crossing zones Bus drivers. Drivers younger than 18 All drivers (effective 09/01/2017) Primary Yes
Utah See footnote* Drivers under
the age of 18.
All drivers

Primary for texting; secondary for talking on hand-held phone

Yes
Vermont All drivers Drivers younger than 18 All drivers Primary  
Virgin Islands All drivers        Yes
Virginia No Drivers younger than 18 and school bus drivers

 All drivers

Primary: for texting by all drivers.  
Secondary: for drivers younger than 18.
Yes
Washington All drivers Learner's permit and intermediate license holders.  All drivers Primary Yes
West Virginia All Drivers Drivers younger than 18 who hold either a learner's permit or an intermediate license  All drivers Primary  
Wisconsin No Learner's permit or
intermediate
license holder
All drivers Primary  
Wyoming No No All drivers Primary Yes
Total All drivers: 15 states and District of Columbia, Guam, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. School Bus drivers: 21 states and District of Columbia.
Teen drivers: 38 states and District of Columbia.
All Drivers: 47 states and District of Columbia, Guam, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Primary for all drivers texting: 43 states, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Secondary for all drivers texting: 4.
40 states, U.S. Virgin Islands and District of Columbia.

Source: Source Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 2017.

Governor’s Highway Safety Association

* Utah considers speaking on a cellphone, without a hands-free device, to be an offense only if a driver is also committing some other moving violation (other than speeding).

** Maine has a law that makes driving while distracted a traffic infraction. 29-A M.R.S.A. Sec. 2118.

*** Listed as a part of contributing factors