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Texting while driving

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Laws regulating texting and other forms of mobile communication while driving a motorized vehicle.

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Contents

Overview

Sending or reading text messages while driving is banned or in the process of being banned in most states.[1]  Some states treat the use of cellphones and pagers as part of the larger issue of driving while distracted and legislate their use broadly.

All Drivers Text Messaging Ban

Some states restrict text messaging for all drivers, no matter what their driving experience is.

States with an all drivers text messaging ban
State Statute Details
Alaska Alaska Stat. §28.35.161 effective as of September 1, 2008. Texting while driving is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and up to one year in jail.
Arkansas Ark. Code §27-51-1501 effective as of Oct 1, 2009, prohibits the use of a handheld wireless telephone for wireless interactive communication while operating a motor vehicle.
California Cal. Vehicle Code §23123.5 Driver cannot use electronic wireless communication device to write, send or read text based communication
Colorado Colo. Rev. Stat. §42-4-239 effective as of Dec 1, 2009. It prohibits the use of a wireless phone for text messaging while the driver is operating a motor vehicle. The first offense results in a $50 fine and a second and subsequent offenses are fined $100.
Connecticut
Delaware Del. Code §4176C [effective Jan. 2, 2011] Driver cannot use electronic wireless communication device to write, send or read text based communication, includes email and gaming.
Georgia
Guam
Illinois
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Nebraska
New Hampshire N.H. Rev. Stat. §265:105-a Driver cannot write a text message while driving. A $100 fine is punishable for a violation of this law.
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
Oregon
Rhode Island
Tennessee
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
Washington D.C.
Wisconsin
Wyoming


Novice Drivers Text Messaging Ban

Some states have restricted only a certain group of drivers from text messaging while driving.  Typically, these states are restricting text message useage from novice drivers, who are either under a certain age or are a new driver.

States with a text messaging ban for novice drivers
State Statute Details
Alabama
Indiana
Maine Me. Rev. Stat. §2116 A driver under the age of 18 cannot use a handheld electronic device while driving. A fine for the first offense is at least $50 and not less than $250 for a second and subsequent offenses.
Mississippi
Missouri
Oklahoma
Texas Tex. Transportation Code §545.424 Drivers under the age of 18 cannot use a wireless communications device while driving.
West Virginia


References

  1. http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/cellphone_laws.html

External Links

Related Resources on FindLaw

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See Also

Contributors

FindLaw Michelle, FindLaw Nira, FindLaw VM, JediJustice, Pddooley, Sfitzpatrick