June 17, 2016

Roundup: State Laws on Distracted Driving

While the United States federal government is running a campaign focused on Distracted Driving Awareness Month this April, laws about distracted driving fall under the jurisdiction of individual states

While the United States federal government is running a campaign focused on Distracted Driving Awareness Month this April, laws about distracted driving fall under the jurisdiction of individual states. This means that different states have different policies about phone usage and other types of distractions behind the wheel, and individual states can set various consequences for violating their laws.

With the help of the National Conference of State Legislatures,  Distraction.gov, DrivingLaws.org, and several state-specific sites, we rounded up the following laws for all 50 states and the District of Columbia on distracted driving, and the potential consequences.

Alabama

  • Bans all cell phone use for drivers age 16 & 17 who have held an intermediate license for less than 6 months.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of the texting ban are subject to a $25 fine for a first-time offense, $50 for a second offense, and $75 for a third offense with a 2 point violation on the offender’s driving record for each offense.

Alaska

  • Bans texting for all drivers and visual displays in view of the driver, with some exceptions.
  • Violators of Alaska’s texting ban may face up to a $10,000 fine and a year in prison for texting and driving, and the penalties may be as high as a $250,000 fine and 20 years in prison if a driver kills someone while texting and driving.

Arizona

  • Bans all cell phone use for bus drivers.
  • Phoenix and Tucson ban texting for all drivers, carrying a fine of $100 for violators and $250 if texting is the cause of an accident.

Arkansas

  • Bans hand-held cell phone use for drivers ages 18 to 20.
  • Bans all cell phone use for drivers under the age of 18.
  • Bans all cell phone use for school bus drivers.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Offenders of the anti-texting legislation may face fines up to $100.

California

  • Bans hand-held cell phone use for all drivers.
  • Bans all cell phone use for drivers under the age of 18.
  • Bans all cell phone use for bus drivers.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of the texting ban are subject to a $20 fine for a first offence and a $50 for each subsequent offense.

Colorado

  • Bans all cell phone use for drivers under the age of 18, with some exceptions.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of the texting ban may be subject to a $50 fine with a $6 surcharge for a first offense and a $100 fine with a $6 surcharge for a second offense.

Connecticut

  • Bans hand-held cell phone use for all drivers.
  • Bans all cell phone use for drivers under the age of 18.
  • Bans all cell phone use for bus drivers.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of Connecticut’s cell phone and texting laws are subject to fines ranging from $100 to $400.
  • Violators under the age of 18 are also subject to license suspension.

Delaware

  • Bans hand-held cell phone use for all drivers.
  • Bans all cell phone use for holders of a learner’s permit or intermediate license.
  • Bans all cell phone use for bus drivers.

District of Columbia

  • Bans hand-held cell phone use for all drivers.
  • Bans all cell phone use for drivers with a learner’s permit.
  • Bans all cell phone use for bus drivers.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.

Florida

  • Bans texting for all drivers.

Georgia

Hawaii

  • Bans hand-held cell phone use for all drivers.
  • Bans all cell phone use for drivers under age 18.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of the cell phone or texting ban can be fined up to $200 for a first offense, and up to $300 for a second offense of texting within the same year.

Idaho

  • City of Sandpoint bans hand-held cell phone use.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Fines for violators of the texting ban begin at $85.

Illinois

  • Bans hand-held cell phone use for all drivers.
  • Bans all cell phone use for drivers under the age of 19.
  • Bans all cell phone use for bus drivers.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Fines for violation of Illinois cell phone law begin at $75.

Indiana

  • Bans all cell phone use for drivers under the age of 18.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.

Iowa

  • Bans all cell phone use for holders of a learner’s permit or intermediate license.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of the texting ban are subject to a $30 fine, or a fine up to $1000 if a serious accident was caused while texting.

Kansas

  • Bans all cell phone use for holders of a learner’s permit or intermediate license.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of the anti-texting legislation face a $60 fine.

Kentucky

  • Bans all cell phone use for drivers under the age of 18.
  • Bans all cell phone use for school bus drivers.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of the anti-texting legislation face a $25 fine for a first offence, and a $50 fine for subsequent offenses, plus court costs.

Louisiana

  • Bans all cell-phone use for drivers under the age of 18.
  • Bans all cell-phone use for holders of a learner’s permit or intermediate license.
  • Bans all cell-phone use for school bus drivers.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of anti-texting laws may face fines up to $175 for a first offense and $500 for subsequent offenses.

Maine

  • Bans all cell-phone use for holders of a learner’s permit or intermediate license.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Bans driving while distracted.
  • First-time offenders of anti-texting legislation face a $100 fine, with increased fines for subsequent offenses.

Maryland

  • Bans hand-held cell phone use for all drivers.
  • Bans all cell phone use for holders of a learner’s permit or intermediate license under the age of 18.
  • Bans all cell phone use for bus drivers.
  • Violators of Maryland’s anti-texting laws face fines ranging from $40-$100.

Massachusetts

  • Bans all cell phone use for holders of a learner’s permit or intermediate license under the age of 18.
  • Bans all cell phone use for bus drivers.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Fines for violators of cell phone and texting legislation in Massachusetts range from $100 to $500 and include license suspensions for novice drivers.

Michigan

  • Bans all cell phone use for drivers with a level 1 or 2 license.
  • Bans all cell phone use for teens with probationary licenses whose cell phone use contributes to a crash or ticket.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of the texting ban face a $100 fine for a first offense and a $200 fine for subsequent offenses.

Minnesota

  • Bans all cell phone use for holders of a learner’s permit or intermediate license under the age of 18.
  • Bans all cell phone use for school bus drivers.
  • Bans all cell phone use for drivers of commercial vehicles.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of Minnesota’s anti-texting legislation may face fines up to $300.

Mississippi

  • Bans all cell phone use for school bus drivers.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of the anti-texting legislation face a fine of $25 for violations committed until July 1, 2016, and a fine of $100 for violations committed from and  after July 1, 2016.

Missouri

  • Bans hand-held cell phone use for drivers of commercial vehicles.
  • Bans texting for drivers age 21 and younger.

Montana

  • Several individual cities have passed legislation prohibiting hand-held cell phone use including Bozeman, Helena, and Whitefish.

Nebraska

  • Bans all cell phone use for holders of a learner’s permit or intermediate license under the age of 18.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violaters of the tecting ban may be fined $200 for a first offense, $300 for a second offense, and $500 for subsequent offenses, in addition to receiving 3 points against their license.

Nevada

  • Bans hand-held cell phone use for all drivers.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of the texting ban may face fines up to $50 for a first offense, $100 for a second offense in seven years, and $250 for a third offense within seven years.

New Hampshire

  • Bans hand-held cell phone use for all drivers.
  • Bans all cell phone use for drivers under the age of 18.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of the texting ban face a $100 fine.

New Jersey

  • Ban hand-held cell phone use for all drivers, with some exceptions.
  • Bans all cell phone use for holders of a learner’s permit or intermediate license under the age of 21.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of the cell phone or texting laws in New Jersey face a $100 fine.

New Mexico

  • Bans hand-held cell phone use for in-state vehicles.
  • Bans all cell phone use for holders of a learner’s permit or intermediate license.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • The penalty for a first-time offense of the anti-texting legislation is a fine of $25, and a subsequent violation carries a fine of $50.

New York

  • Bans hand-held cell phone use for all drivers.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of the cell phone use and texting bans may face a fine of up to $100 for cell phone use and $150 for texting, in addition to up to $85 of fees and surcharges and 3 points against their license.

North Carolina

  • Bans all cell phone use for drivers under the age of 18.
  • Bans all cell phone use for school bus drivers.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Minors caught using mobile communications devices or other technology while driving face a $25 fine, while all drivers caught texting or reading a text while driving will face a $100 fine and court fees of at least $130.

North Dakota

  • Bans all cell phone use for drivers under the age of 18.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of the anti-texting law face a $100 fine.

Ohio

  • Bans all cell phone use for drivers under the age of 18.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of the anti-texting legislation face fines up to $150, and up to $300 for novice (under 18 years of age) drivers.

Oklahoma

  • Bans hand-held cell phone use for holders of a learner’s permit or intermediate license.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Offenders of the anti-texting legislation face a $100 fine.

Oregon

  • Bans hand-held cell phone use for all drivers, with some exceptions.
  • Bans all cell phone use for drivers under the age of 18.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of Oregon's cell phone or texting laws face a fine of $142.

Pennsylvania

  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of anti-texting legislation face a $50 fine.

Rhode Island

  • Bans all cell phone use for drivers under the age of 18.
  • Bans all cell phone use for school bus drivers.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Fines for violation of Rhode Island’s cell phone and texting laws range from $50-$125 and may include suspension of driver’s license for drivers under the age of 18.

South Carolina

  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of the anti-texting legislation may face fines of $25.

South Dakota

  • Bans hand-held cell phone use for holders of a learner’s permit or intermediate license.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of the texting ban face a $100 fine.

Tennessee

  • Bans all cell phone use for holders of a learner’s permit or intermediate license.
  • Bans all cell phone use for school bus drivers.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of the texting ban may face a fine up to $50, or $100 for novice drivers in addition to court costs.
  • Violators of the texting ban additionally are prohibited from applying for an intermediate or unrestricted driver’s license for an additional 90 days.

Texas

  • Bans hand-held cell phone use for drivers in school crossing zones.
  • Bans all hand-held cell phone use for holders of learner’s permits in their first 6 months.
  • Bans all cell phone use for drivers under the age of 18.
  • Bans all cell phone use for bus drivers with passengers ages 17 and younger.
  • Many cities and local jurisdictions have their own ordinances regarding cell phone use while driving.
  • Fines for violation of Texas cell phone use and texting laws range from $200-$500.

Utah

  • Considers use of a hand-held cell phone (or other activities not related to driving) to be an offense if driver also commits a moving violation other than speeding.
  • Bans all cell phone use for drivers under the age of 18.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of Utah’s anti-texting legislation face up to three months in jail, and up to a $750 fine. If injury or death is caused, the violator may face up to a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison.

Vermont

  • Bans all cell phone use for drivers under the age of 18.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of the texting ban may face a fine of $100 for a first-time offense and $250 for subsequent offenses within a 2 year period.

Virginia

  • Bans all cell phone use for drivers under the age of 18.
  • Bans all cell phone use for school bus drivers.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • A first-time offense of Virginia’s anti-texting legislation may result in a fine of $125, and subsequent offenses are punishable by fines of $250.

Washington

  • Bans hand-held cell phone use for all drivers, with some exceptions.
  • Bans all cell phone use for drivers under the age of 18.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of the Washington law are subject to a $124 fine for a first time offense

West Virginia

  • Bans hand-held cell phone use for all drivers.
  • Bans all cell phone use for holders of a learner’s permit or intermediate license.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of the cell phone and texting law will be fined $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and $300 for any subsequent offense.

Wisconsin

  • Bans all cell phone use for holders of a learner’s permit or intermediate license.
  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of the texting law face a fine between $20-$400 for a first-time offense and between $200-$800 for a second-time offense, in addition to up to four points against their driver’s license.

Wyoming

  • Bans texting for all drivers.
  • Violators of the texting ban face a fine of up to $75

Note: Some of these laws are expressed in simplified form to apply to most drivers and situations. Some state legislation includes exceptions for use of certain electronic equipment for certain service providers, or for the use of cell phones to report emergencies. Please refer directly to state legislation for exact policies.

The best way to avoid all fines, fees, points, and other consequences is to abstain from using your cell phone while driving. Take the pledge* to drive phone-free in honor of Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Many individuals and local authorities have already jumped on the opportunity to remind users to drive safely. There are even signs popping up on highways to encourage safer driving.

Luckily, there are tools out there to help the tech-obsessed (or the poke-obsessed) improve their driving. One of our favorites is an app called TrueMotion Family! The app analyzes your driving in order to provide you with a score - and insights as to how you drive. It's perfect for parents who want to monitor their teen drivers. The app gives parents the power to see where their kids drive, and produces a 'report card' on their driving in addition to an assessment of whether they were driving distracted (using their cell phone). Plus, families have access to roadside assistance on-demand from right within the TrueMotion app.

I don’t remember Ash, Misty, or Brock driving cars in their quest to be the very best, like no one ever was. And there aren’t vehicles any in PokemonGO. At Urgent.ly, we love the game and just like you, we’re prepared to travel across the land searching far and wide to catch 'em all, but we encourage you to put safety first in your travels! Remember that the power of Pokemon is awesome in augmented reality but automobiles are a powerful tool meant for use in the real world and require optimum focus to operate safely. In a world we must defend, you can start by driving safely, and catch and train ‘em all when you’re not operating a vehicle.

To stay connected and receive the latest in great content from Urgent.ly, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check our blog for all things driving and roadside assistance!

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