Cellphone laws by state 2010

					Cellphone laws
January 2011



A jurisdiction-wide ban on driving while talking on a hand-held cellphone is in place in 9
states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon,
Utah, and Washington) and the District of Columbia. Utah has named the offense
careless driving. Under the Utah law, no one commits an offense when speaking on a
cellphone unless they are also committing some other moving violation other than
speeding.

Local jurisdictions may or may not need specific state statutory authority to ban
cellphones or text messaging. Several of the many localities that have enacted restrictions
on cellphone use include: Oahu, HI; Chicago, IL; Brookline, MA; Detroit, MI; Santa Fe,
NM; Brooklyn, North Olmstead, and Walton Hills, OH; Conshohocken, Lebanon, and
West Conshohocken, PA; Waupaca County, WI; and Cheyenne, WY.

The use of all cellphones while driving a school bus is prohibited in 19 states and the
District of Columbia.

The use of all cellphones by novice drivers is restricted in 28 states and the District of
Columbia.

Text messaging is banned for all drivers in 30 states and the District of Columbia. In
addition, novice drivers are banned from texting in 8 states (Alabama, Indiana, Maine,
Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia) and school bus drivers are
banned from text messaging in 2 states (Oklahoma and Texas).

The table below shows the states that have cellphone laws, whether they specifically ban
text messaging, and whether they are enforced as primary or secondary laws. Under
secondary laws, an officer must have some other reason to stop a vehicle before citing a
driver for using a cellphone. Laws without this restriction are called primary.

      Table
      Map: hand-held bans
      Map: young driver bans
      Map: bus driver bans
      Map: texting bans

                    Laws restricting cellphone use and texting
                               Young         Bus
                 Hand-held
    State                    drivers all drivers all Texting ban              Enforcement
                   ban
                           cellphone ban cellphone
                                                  ban
                            drivers age 16
                                                         drivers age 16
                            and 17-year-
                                                         and 17-year-
                            old drivers
                                                         old drivers who
                            who have held
                                                         have held an
Alabama       no            an             no                            primary
                                                         intermediate
                            intermediate
                                                         license for
                            license for
                                                         fewer than 6
                            fewer than 6
                                                         months
                            months
Alaska        no            no             no            all drivers    primary
                                           school bus
Arizona       no            no                           no             primary
                                           drivers
                                                                        primary: texting
                                                                        by all drivers
                                                                        and cellphone
              drivers 18 or
                            drivers                                     use by school
              older but                  school bus
Arkansas                    younger than            all drivers         bus drivers;
              younger than               drivers
                            18                                          secondary:
              21
                                                                        cellphone use
                                                                        by young
                                                                        drivers1
                                                                        primary: hand
                                                                        held and texting
                                                                        laws;
                            drivers      school and
                                                                        secondary:
California    all drivers   younger than transit bus all drivers
                                                                        hands-free
                            18           drivers
                                                                        cellphone use
                                                                        by young
                                                                        drivers1
                            drivers
Colorado      no            younger than     no          all drivers    primary
                            18
                            drivers
                                             school bus
Connecticut   all drivers   younger than                all drivers     primary
                                             drivers
                            18
                            learner's
                            permit and
                                             school bus
Delaware      all drivers   intermediate                all drivers     primary
                                             drivers
                            license
                            holders
District of                 learner's        school bus
              all drivers                               all drivers     primary
Columbia                    permit holders   drivers
Florida       no            no               no         no              not applicable
                         drivers
                                          school bus
Georgia     no           younger than                all drivers      primary
                                          drivers
                         18
Hawaii      no           no               no          no              not applicable
Idaho       no           no               no          no              not applicable
                         drivers
                         younger than
            drivers in
                         19 and
            construction                  school bus
Illinois                 learner's                   all drivers      primary
            and school                    drivers
                         permit holders
            speed zones
                         younger than
                         19
                         drivers
                                                      drivers younger
Indiana     no           younger than     no                          primary
                                                      than 18
                         18
                                                                      primary for
                         learner's                                    learner's permit
                         permit and                                   and
Iowa        no           intermediate     no          all drivers     intermediate
                         license                                      license holders;
                         holders                                      secondary for
                                                                      texting
                         learner's
                         permit and
Kansas      no           intermediate     no          all drivers     primary
                         license
                         holders
                         drivers
                                          school bus
Kentucky    no           younger than                all drivers      primary
                                          drivers
                         18
            with respect all novice
            to novice    drivers, see     school bus
Louisiana                                            all drivers      primary2
            drivers, see footnote for     drivers
            footnote2    detail2
                         learner's
                                                      learner's permit
                         permit and
                                                      and
Maine       no           intermediate     no                           primary
                                                      intermediate
                         license
                                                      license holders
                         holders
                         learner's
                                          school bus
                         permit and                                   secondary;
                                          drivers
Maryland    all drivers  provisional                 all drivers      primary for
                                          (hand-held
                         license                                      texting
                                          ban)
                         holders
                            younger than
                            18
                                           school bus
                                           drivers
                                           (effective
                            drivers
                                           since
Massachusetts no            younger than               all drivers        primary
                                           4/12/01)
                            18
                                           and
                                           passenger
                                           bus drivers
Michigan      no            no             no          all drivers        primary
                            learner's
                            permit holders
                            and
                            provisional
                                           school bus
Minnesota     no            license                    all drivers        primary
                                           drivers
                            holders during
                            the first 12
                            months after
                            licensing
                                                       learner's permit
                                                       and
Mississippi   no            no             no                             primary
                                                       intermediate
                                                       license holders
                                                       drivers 21 and
Missouri      no            no             no                             primary
                                                       younger
Montana       no            no             no          no                 not applicable
                            learner's
                            permit and
                            intermediate
Nebraska      no            license        no          all drivers        secondary
                            holders
                            younger than
                            18
Nevada        no            no             no          no                 not applicable
New
              no            no             no          all drivers        primary
Hampshire
                            learner's
                            permit and
                                           school bus
New Jersey    all drivers   intermediate              all drivers         primary
                                           drivers
                            license
                            holders
New Mexico no               no             no          no                 not applicable
New York   all drivers      no             no          all drivers        primary;
                                                                      secondary for
                                                                      text messaging
                          drivers
North                                    school bus
            no            younger than              all drivers       primary
Carolina                                 drivers
                          18
North Dakota no           no             no          no               not applicable
Ohio         no           no             no          no               not applicable
                                                     learner's permit
                                                     holders,
            learner's                    school bus
                                                     intermediate
            permit and                   drivers and
                                                     license holders,
Oklahoma    intermediate no3             public                       primary
                                                     school bus
            license                      transit
                                                     drivers and
            holders                      drivers
                                                     public transit
                                                     drivers
                          drivers
Oregon      all drivers   younger than   no          all drivers      primary
                          18
Pennsylvania no           no             no          no               not applicable
                          drivers
                                         school bus
Rhode Island no           younger than              all drivers       primary
                                         drivers
                          18
South
             no           no             no          no               not applicable
Carolina
South Dakota no           no             no          no               not applicable
                          learner's
                          permit and
                                         school bus
Tennessee   no            intermediate              all drivers       primary
                                         drivers
                          license
                          holders
                                                      bus drivers
                                                      when a
                                                      passenger 17
                                          bus drivers
                          intermediate                and younger is
            drivers in                    when a
                          license                     present;
            school                        passenger
Texas                     holders for the             intermediate     primary
            crossing                      17 and
                          first twelve                license holders
            zones                         younger is
                          months                      for first twelve
                                          present
                                                      months; drivers
                                                      in school
                                                      crossing zones
                                                                       primary for
Utah        all drivers   no              no          all drivers      texting;
                                                                       secondary for
                                                                             talking on a
                                                                             hand-held
                                                                             cellphone4
                              drivers
Vermont        no             younger than no              all drivers       primary
                              18
                                                                             secondary;
                              drivers
                                           school bus                        primary for
Virginia       no             younger than            all drivers
                                           drivers                           school bus
                              18
                                                                             drivers
                              learner's
                              permit and
Washington     all drivers    intermediate    no           all drivers       primary
                              license
                              holders
                              drivers
                                                           drivers younger
                              younger than
                                                           than 18 who
                              18 who hold
                                                           hold either a
                              either a
West Virginia no                              no           learner's permit primary
                              learner's
                                                           or an
                              permit or an
                                                           intermediate
                              intermediate
                                                           license
                              license
Wisconsin      no             no              no           all drivers       primary
Wyoming        no             no              no           all drivers       primary



1
 The laws in Arkansas and California prohibit police from stopping a vehicle to
determine if a driver is in compliance with the law. Clearly, that 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.
2
 In Louisiana, all learner's permit holders, irrespective of age, and all intermediate license
holders are prohibited from driving while using a hand-held cellphone and all drivers
younger than 18 are prohibited from using any cellphone. Effective April 1, 2010 all
drivers, irrespective of age, issued a first driver’s license will be prohibited from using a
cellphone for one year. The cellphone ban is secondary for novice drivers age 18 and
older.
3
 In Oklahoma, learner's permit and intermediate license holders are banned from using a
hand-held electronic device while operating a motor vehicle for non-life-threatening
emergency purposes.
4
 Utah's law defines careless driving as committing a moving violation (other than
speeding) while distracted by use of a hand-held cellphone or other activities not related
to driving.

				
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