Texting While Driving - Laws & Regulations

Texting while driving is a persistent safety issue on the road, fueled by the number of cell phones increasing and people using them irresponsibly.
Significant research has been conducted for more than a decade now which indicates startling figures about the dangerous combination of texting and driving. A 2010 estimate by the National Safety Council showed 1.6 million crashes every year involving drivers using cell phones. Texting and driving is responsible for 330,000 injuries each year. Other notable studies affirm that:
  • Using a cell phone while driving causes the reaction time of an 18–25 year old to be reduced to that of a 65–74 year old.
  • Talking on hands-free cell phones is no safer than using hand-held cell phones.
  • Driving while talking on cell phones (hand-held or hands-free) increased the chances of injury and damage crashes by four times.
  • The percentage of drivers text-messaging or visibly manipulating handheld devices increased from 1.7 percent in 2013 to 2.2 percent in 2014.
  • 40% of all teens age 12–17 say they have been in a car when the driver was texting.
A study conducted by Virginia Tech on behavior of Truck Drivers concluded that people who text while driving are 23 times more prone to a crash than non-distracted drivers. Reading or sending texts diverts the driver’s attention by a span of 4.6 seconds.
Because of this government, at the federal as well as state levels, has put several laws in place to curb it.
Text messaging while driving is banned for all drivers in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. All except five states have primary enforcement. Furthermore, novice drivers are banned from texting in two states (Missouri, Texas) and school bus drivers have to abide by no texting rules in one state (Texas.) Local and highway traffic authorities increasingly use No Texting Signs as visual enforcements to make people aware of No Texting laws.
The federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration has been partnering with the Department of Transportation and key organizations to help reach out to employers, especially small business employers, to combat distracted driving and make sure workers don’t text and drive. OSHA is placing a special emphasis on reaching out to young workers.

State Laws and Penalties on Texting While Driving

STATE FINE
FIRST OFFENSE SECOND/SUBSEQUENT OFFENSE THIRD/SUBSEQUENT OFFENSE
Alabama $25 $50 $75
Alaska
up to $10,000
Arizona
NO STATE WIDE BAN
Arkansas
$100
California $20 $50
Colorado $50 $100
Connecticut $150 $300 $500
District of Columbia
$100
Florida $30 $60
Georgia
$150
Hawaii $250
Idaho $81.50
Illinois $75 $100 $125
Indiana
up to $500
Iowa
$30
Kansas
$60
Kentucky $25 $50
Louisiana $175 $500
Maine $250 $500
Maryland $40 $100
Massachusetts $100 $250 $500
Michigan $100 $200
Minnesota $50 $225
Mississippi
$100
Missouri
NO STATE WIDE BAN
Montana
NO STATE WIDE BAN
Nebraska $200 $300 $500
Nevada $50 $100 $250
New Hampshire
$100
New Jersey $200–$400 $400–$600 $600–$800
New Mexico $25 $50
New York $50–$200 $50–$250 $50–$450
North Carolina
$25 (minors) $100 (adults)
North Dakota
$100
Ohio $150 (for minors) $300 (for minors)
Oklahoma
$100
Oregon
up to $500
Pennsylvania
$50
Rhode Island $85 $100 $125
South Carolina
$25
South Dakota
$100
Tennessee
$50
Texas
NO STATE WIDE BAN
Utah $100 up to $750
Vermont $100 $250–$500
Virginia $125 $250
Washington $124
West Virginia $100 $200 $300
Wisconsin $20-400 $200-$800
Wyoming
$75

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