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.