Distracted Driving (Click here for Canada)

United States

Alabama

Texting while driving is prohibited.  Teens with intermediate licenses are prohibited from using a handheld communication device while driving. Handheld cell phone use is prohibited in Montgomery.

Alaska

Text messaging while driving is prohibited.

Arizona

School bus drivers are prohibited from talking on a cell phone and driving, except in emergencies. Phoenix and Tuscon have a ban on texting while driving for all drivers.

Arkansas

Drivers age 18-21 are prohibited from using a hand-held cell phone while driving. Learner’s and intermediate license holders may not use interactive communication devices while driving. Text messaging is prohibited for drivers of all ages. No driver may use a handheld wireless telephone when passing a school building or school zone during school hours when children are present and outside the building; or in a highway work zone when a highway worker is present. School bus drivers are prohibited from using cell phones while driving, except in emergencies and while parked.

California

It is illegal to use a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle unless the cell phone is being used in hands-free mode. Persons under age 18 may not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless communications device of any kind, including but not limited to a broadband personal communication device, a 2-way messaging device, pager, or laptop computer. All drivers are prohibited from using a wireless communication device to write, send, or read a text-based communication while driving. School bus drivers are not permitted to use cell phones.

Colorado

Text messaging is prohibited for all drivers. Persons under 18 are prohibited from using a wireless telephone while driving.

Connecticut

No person shall text message or use a hand-held phone while driving. Drivers under 18 are subject to a complete ban on cell phone and mobile electronic device use. Connecticut also has a general law against distracted driving, prohibiting drivers from engaging in any activity not related to the actual operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that interferes with the vehicle’s safe operation. School bus drivers are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving except in emergencies.

Delaware

All drivers are prohibited from text messaging and handheld cell phone use. Learner’s permit and intermediate license holders are subject to a complete ban on cell phone use. School bus drivers are prohibited from using cell phones while driving, except in emergencies and while parked.

District of Columbia

The use of a hand-held cell phone and text messaging while driving are prohibited. Drivers with learner’s permits and school bus drivers are prohibited from using cell phones of any type while driving. Distracted driving in general, which is defined as inattentive driving while operating a motor vehicle, is prohibited.

Florida

Texting while driving is banned for all drivers.  A secondary offense.

Use of a cellular phone with a headset is permitted while driving if sound is provided through 1 ear and allows surrounding sounds to be heard with other ear. Localities are prohibited from regulating the use of commercial mobile radio services, including cell phones.

Georgia

Text messaging is prohibited for all drivers. Instruction permit or Class D license holders under 18 are prohibited from using any kind of wireless telecommunications device while driving. School bus drivers are prohibited from using cellular phones.

Hawaii

All of Hawaii’s counties ban handheld cell phone use and text messaging while driving, though there is no statewide law. Maui has a complete cell phone ban for novice drivers.

Effective July 1, 2013, handheld cell phone use and text messaging while driving is banned for all drivers.  Drivers under 18 are banned from all wireless device use.

Idaho

Texting while driving is prohibited statewide.  Handheld cell phone use is prohibited in Sandpoint.

Illinois

Text messaging (and effective January 1, 2014, handheld cell phone use) while driving is prohibited. Driver’s under the age of 19 who hold a learner’s permit or intermediate license may not use a cell phone or other similar device while driving. School bus drivers are prohibited from talking on a cell phone and driving, except in emergencies. The use of any cellular phone while driving is prohibited in work zones and school zones, or within 500 feet of an emergency zone. The use of a handheld cellular phone while driving is prohibited in several local jurisdictions, including Antioch, Chicago, Deerfield, Evanston, Highland Park, Lake Forest, and Waukegan.

Indiana

Texting while driving is banned for all drivers.  Probationary license holders under 18 are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle while using a telecommunications device for any purpose other than making an emergency 911 call.

Iowa

Text messaging while driving is prohibited for all drivers. A secondary offense. Drivers issued a restricted license (age 16-18), instruction permit, or intermediate drivers license may not use an electronic communication device or an electronic entertainment device while driving. In Dubuque, drivers are banned from handheld cell phone use.

Kansas

Texting while driving is prohibited. Instruction permit and restricted Class C and M Driver’s license holders are prohibited from using wireless communications devices while driving.

Kentucky

Text messaging while driving is prohibited. Persons under the age of 18 who have been issued an instruction permit, intermediate license, or operator’s license are prohibited from driving while using any kind of personal communication device. Exempts the use of a global positioning or navigation system that is physically or electronically integrated into the motor vehicle.  School bus drivers may not use cell phones while driving.

Louisiana

Text messaging while driving is prohibited for all drivers. Driver’s 17 and younger and drivers in their first year of licensure are subject to a complete ban on the use of cell phones. Learner’s and intermediate license holders age 18 and older are subject to a secondary ban on the use of hand-held cell phones. School bus drivers may not use cell phones while driving.  Effective August 1, 2013, drivers are banned from using a wireless telecommunications device to access, read, or post to a social networking site.

Maryland

Using a text messaging device to write, read, or send a text message while driving is prohibited for all drivers. The use of a handheld telephone is prohibited for all drivers.  The use of wireless communication devices by all drivers under 18 is prohibited.

Massachusetts

All drivers are prohibited from text messaging. Junior operators under age 18 are prohibited from all cell phone use.

Michigan

Text messaging while driving is prohibited. Handheld cell phone use is banned for learner’s permit and intermediate license holders. Detroit has a prohibition on using handheld cell phones while driving. In Troy, drivers are prohibited from using handheld cell phones or engaging in any activity that diverts driver attention.

Minnesota

Text messaging while driving is prohibited. Permit holders and provisional license holders are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving.  School bus drivers may not use cell phones while driving.

Mississippi

Intermediate license, temporary learning permit, or temporary driving permit holders may not drive while using a wireless communication device for text messaging. Exempts the use of technology utilizing a cellular connection to a vehicle to relay vehicle operational information between the vehicle and a call center or repair facility, and vehicle navigation. School bus drivers may not use a wireless communication device when transporting minor passengers.

Missouri

Persons under 21 are prohibited from operating a moving motor vehicle while sending, reading, or writing a text message.

Maine

Texting while driving is prohibited for all drivers.  Instruction permit and restricted license holders under 18 years of age are prohibited from using a cellular phone while driving. A person operating a motor vehicle while distracted is guilty of the infraction of failure to maintain control of a motor vehicle.

Montana

Text messaging while driving is prohibited in Missoula.  Texting and handheld cell phone use while driving are prohibited in Billings, Butte, Columbia Falls, Great Falls, Helena, and Whitefish.

Nebraska

All drivers are prohibited from text messaging while driving. No LPE, SCP, LPD, or POP holder may use any interactive communication device while driving. Both are secondary offenses.

Nevada

Texting while driving and handheld cell phone use while driving are prohibited.

New Hampshire

Text messaging or the use of two hands to type on or operate an electronic or telecommunications device is prohibited for all drivers. Anyone who drives a vehicle negligently or causes a vehicle to be driven negligently, or in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger any person or property shall be guilty of a violation.

New Jersey

No person shall use a hand-held phone or engage in text messaging while driving. Special learner’s permit, examination permit, and probationary license holders are subject to a complete ban on cell phone use.

School bus drivers are prohibited from talking on a cell phone and driving, except in emergencies.

New Mexico

Texting while driving is prohibited (effective July 1, 2014). Instruction and provisional license holders are banned from using any wireless devices while driving. Drivers are prohibited from using hand-held cellular phones in Santa Fe and Las Cruces.

New York

No person shall operate a motor vehicle while using a mobile telephone to engage in a call while the vehicle is in motion, unless that person is using a hands-free device.

Text messaging while driving is prohibited for all drivers.

North Carolina

Text messaging and emailing while driving are prohibited for all drivers. Limited learner’s permit and provisional driver’s license holders, and drivers under 18, are prohibited from all cell phone use. School bus drivers are not permitted to use cell phones.

North Dakota

Texting while driving is prohibited.  All wireless device use is prohibited for drivers under age 18.

Ohio

Text messaging while driving is prohibited (a secondary offense).  Temporary instruction permit holders under age 18 and probationary license holders are prohibited from using any type of wireless device while driving.

The use of hand-held cellular telephones while driving is prohibited in Beachwood, Brooklyn, North Olmsted, North Royalton, South Euclid, and Walton Hills.

Oklahoma

Drivers can be cited for not devoting full time and attention to driving if observed by a police officer driving in such a manner that poses an articulable danger to other persons on the roadway or if the driver is involved in an accident. Learner’s permit and intermediate license holders may not use a hand-held electronic device while driving.  School bus drivers are prohibited from texting while driving.

Oregon

All drivers are prohibited from text messaging. Drivers under 18 are prohibited from using a mobile communication device while driving. Drivers over 18 may not use a mobile communications device without a hands-free accessory.

Pennsylvania

Texting while driving is banned for all drivers and all local distracted driving laws are preempted by state law.

Rhode Island

All drivers are prohibited from text messaging while driving. Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving. School bus drivers are prohibited from using cell phones while driving, except in emergencies.

South Carolina

There is no statewide distracted driving law.  Texting while driving is prohibited by some localities, including Columbia.

South Dakota

Texting while driving is prohibited (effective July 1, 2014).  A secondary offense.  Instruction/learner’s permit and restricted minor’s permit/intermediate license holders are prohibited from from wireless device use while driving. A secondary offense.

Tennessee

Text messaging is prohibited for all drivers. Learner’s permit or intermediate driver’s license holders are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving. School bus drivers are prohibited from talking on a cell phone and driving, except in emergencies.

Texas

The use of a wireless communication device while driving in a school zone is prohibited unless the device is hands free. Drivers under 18 are prohibited from using a wireless communication device. Passenger bus drivers transporting minor passengers are prohibited from using cell phones while driving. Drivers in El Paso are prohibited from text messaging or using a handheld cell phone while driving. Drivers in Arlington, Austin, Galveston, McAllen, Missouri City, San Antonio, and Stephenville are prohibited from texting while driving.

Utah

Handheld cell phone use while driving is prohibited (effective May 17, 2014).  The use of a hand-held wireless communications device for text messaging or e-mail communication while driving is prohibited.  Drivers under age 18 are prohibited from using a wireless telephone while driving.  The state also has a law against careless driving, for which a person can be charged if they commit a moving violation other than speeding while using a hand-held cell phone or engaging in other distracting activities (repealed effective May 17, 2014).

Vermont

All drivers are prohibited from texting while driving. Driver’s under 18 may not use a portable electronic device while driving.

Virginia

Text messaging and emailing while driving is prohibited for all drivers. Learner’s permit and provisional driver’s license holders under 18 are subject to a complete ban on cell phone use (secondarily enforced).  School bus drivers may not use cell phones while driving.

Washington

No person shall use a hand-held phone while driving. Text messaging while driving is also prohibited. Instruction permit and intermediate license holders are prohibited from using any wireless communication device while driving.

West Virginia

Texting while driving and handheld cell phone use are banned.  Instruction permit and intermediate license holders under 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving.

Wisconsin

Text messaging while driving is prohibited. Drivers with learner’s permits or intermediate licenses may not use a cell or other wireless phone while driving.  In Marshfield and Wisconsin Rapids, drivers are banned from using handheld cell phones.

Wyoming

Texting while driving is prohibited. In Cheyenne, drivers are banned from handheld cell phone use.


Canada

Alberta

The use of handheld cell phones and text messaging while driving is prohibited. No person may drive while engaged in an activity that distracts the individual from the operation of the vehicle, including reading or viewing printed material, writing, printing or sketching, engaging in personal grooming or hygiene.

British Columbia

The use of text messaging and handheld cell phones while driving are prohibited.

Manitoba

Text messaging and using a hand-held cell phone or other device are not permitted while operating motor vehicle that is in motion.

New Brunswick

The use of handheld cellular phones, text messaging, two-way radios, or any other kind of handheld electronic device is prohibited.

Newfoundland and Labrador

The use of hand-held cellular phones for voice communication or text messaging is prohibited.

Northwest Territories

Handheld cell phone use and texting messaging while driving are banned.

Nova Scotia

It is illegal to use a handheld cellular phone or engage in text messaging while operating a vehicle on a highway.

Nunavut

No province-wide distracted driving law.

Ontario

No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or using a hand-held wireless communication device, entertainment device, or other prescribed device that is capable of receiving or transmitting telephone communications, electronic data, mail or text messages.

Prince Edward Island

The use of handheld electronic devices and text messaging while driving is prohibited.

Quebec

No person may use a hand-held device that includes a telephone function while driving a motor vehicle.

Saskatchewan

Text messaging and the use of hand-held cell phones while driving are prohibited. Drivers in the graduated driver’s licensing program are prohibited from all cell phone use.

Yukon

Drivers may not use a cell phone, text or send e-mails with any kind of hand-held electronic device.