Laws restricting cellphone use and texting
StateHand-held banTexting banEnforcement
Alabamano all drivers primary 
Alaskano all drivers primary 
Arizonano no secondary (effective 06/30/18)
Arkansasdrivers 18 or older but younger than 21; school and highway work zones all drivers primary; secondary
Californiaall drivers all driversprimary; secondary
Coloradono all drivers primary 
Connecticutall drivers all drivers primary 
Delawareall drivers all drivers primary 
DCall drivers all drivers primary 
Floridano all drivers secondary 
Georgiano all drivers primary 
Hawaiiall drivers all drivers primary 
Idahono all drivers primary 
Illinoisall drivers all drivers primary 
Indianano all drivers primary 
Iowano all drivers primary 
Kansasno all drivers primary 
Kentuckyno all drivers primary 
Louisianadrivers in signed school zones; re: novice drivers, see footnote3 all drivers primary3 
Maineno all drivers primary 
Marylandall drivers all drivers primary 
Massachusettsno all drivers primary 
Michiganno all drivers primary 
Minnesotano all drivers primary 
Mississippino all drivers primary 
Missourino drivers 21 and younger primary 
Montanano no not applicable 
Nebraskano all drivers secondary 
Nevadaall drivers all drivers primary 
New Hampshireall drivers all drivers primary 
New Jerseyall drivers all drivers primary 
New Mexicono all drivers primary 
New Yorkall drivers all drivers primary 
North Carolinano all drivers primary 
North Dakotano all drivers primary 
Ohiono all drivers primary for drivers younger than 18; secondary for texting 
Oklahomalearner’s permit and intermediate license holders all drivers primary 
Oregonall drivers5 all drivers primary 
Pennsylvaniano all drivers primary 
Rhode Islandall drivers (effective 06/01/18)all drivers primary 
South Carolinano all drivers primary 
South Dakotano all drivers secondary 
Tennesseedrivers in marked school zones(effective 01/01/18)all drivers primary 
TexasState; Local Ordinancesall drivers primary 
Utahno6 all drivers primary6 
Vermontall drivers all drivers primary 
Virginiano all drivers primary; secondary for drivers younger than 18 
Washingtonall drivers7 all drivers7 primary 
West Virginiaall drivers all drivers primary 
Wisconsindrivers in highway construction areas all drivers primary 
Wyomingno 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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