Laws restricting cellphone use and texting
State Hand-held ban Texting ban Enforcement
Alabama no  all drivers  primary 
Alaska no  all drivers  primary 
Arizona no  no  secondary (effective 06/30/18)
Arkansas drivers 18 or older but younger than 21; school and highway work zones  all drivers  primary; secondary
California all drivers  all drivers primary; secondary
Colorado no  all drivers  primary 
Connecticut all drivers  all drivers  primary 
Delaware all drivers  all drivers  primary 
DC all drivers  all drivers  primary 
Florida no  all drivers  secondary 
Georgia no  all drivers  primary 
Hawaii all drivers  all drivers  primary 
Idaho no  all drivers  primary 
Illinois all drivers  all drivers  primary 
Indiana no  all drivers  primary 
Iowa no  all drivers  primary 
Kansas no  all drivers  primary 
Kentucky no  all drivers  primary 
Louisiana drivers in signed school zones; re: novice drivers, see footnote3  all drivers  primary3 
Maine no  all drivers  primary 
Maryland all drivers  all drivers  primary 
Massachusetts no  all drivers  primary 
Michigan no  all drivers  primary 
Minnesota no  all drivers  primary 
Mississippi no  all drivers  primary 
Missouri no  drivers 21 and younger  primary 
Montana no  no  not applicable 
Nebraska no  all drivers  secondary 
Nevada all drivers  all drivers  primary 
New Hampshire all drivers  all drivers  primary 
New Jersey all drivers  all drivers  primary 
New Mexico no  all drivers  primary 
New York all drivers  all drivers  primary 
North Carolina no  all drivers  primary 
North Dakota no  all drivers  primary 
Ohio no  all drivers  primary for drivers younger than 18; secondary for texting 
Oklahoma learner’s permit and intermediate license holders  all drivers  primary 
Oregon all drivers5  all drivers  primary 
Pennsylvania no  all drivers  primary 
Rhode Island all drivers (effective 06/01/18) all drivers  primary 
South Carolina no  all drivers  primary 
South Dakota no  all drivers  secondary 
Tennessee drivers in marked school zones(effective 01/01/18) all drivers  primary 
Texas State; Local Ordinances all drivers  primary 
Utah no6  all drivers  primary6 
Vermont all drivers  all drivers  primary 
Virginia no  all drivers  primary; secondary for drivers younger than 18 
Washington all drivers7  all drivers7  primary 
West Virginia all drivers  all drivers  primary 
Wisconsin drivers in highway construction areas  all drivers  primary 
Wyoming no  all drivers  primary 

 

1The laws in Arkansas and California prohibit police from stopping a vehicle to determine if a driver is in compliance with the law. The language prohibits the use of checkpoints to enforce the law, but it has been interpreted as the functional equivalent of secondary provisions that typically state the officer may not stop someone suspected of a violation unless there is other, independent, cause for a stop.

2California drivers who are 18 and older may dictate, send or listen to text-based messages if they’re using voice-activated, hands-free devices.

3In Louisiana, all learner’s permit holders, irrespective of age, and all intermediate license holders are prohibited from driving while using a hand-held cellphone. All drivers younger than 18 are prohibited from using any cellphone. All drivers, irrespective of age, issued a first driver’s license are prohibited from using a cellphone for one year. The cellphone ban is secondary for novice drivers ages 18 and older.

4In Oklahoma, learner’s permit and intermediate license holders are banned from using a hand-held electronic device while operating a motor vehicle except in life-threatening emergencies.

5In Oregon, drivers may not hold a personal electronic device in either hand or both hands while operating a motor vehicle on a public highway, including while temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays, effective October 1, 2017.

6In 2007, Utah defined careless driving as committing a moving violation (other than speeding) while distracted by use of a handheld cellphone or other activities not related to driving. IIHS reported this as the functional equivalent of a secondary law. In 2012, Utah’s law was modified to specify that a person is not prohibited from using a handheld wireless device while operating a moving motor vehicle when making or receiving a telephone call. In 2014, Utah again amended its law by removing the act of talking on a hand-held phone from the section describing careless driving. In addition, the most recent iteration bans drivers from dialing a hand-held phone and caps the maximum fine at $100 for a first offense provided the offender inflicted no bodily harm.

7In Washington, drivers may not hold a personal electronic device in either hand or both hands while operating a motor vehicle on a public highway, including while temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays, effective July 23, 2017.

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