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Girl holding a phone to her ear while driving

Distracted Driving Laws

This chart outlines state distracted driving laws. Some localities have additional regulations. Enforcement type is shown in parenthesis.

Crash Data Collection: Nearly all states include at least one category for distraction on police crash report forms, although the specific data collected varies. The Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria (MMUCC) guideline provides best practices on distraction data collection.

Preemption Laws: Many localities have passed their own distracted driving bans. However, some states – such as Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma – prohibit localities from enacting such laws.

NOTE: GHSA does not compile any additional data on distracted driving laws other than what is presented here. For more information, consult the appropriate State Highway Safety Office.

State Hand-held Ban All Cell Phone Ban Text Messaging Ban Crash
Data
School Bus Drivers Novice Drivers All
Drivers
School Bus Drivers Novice Drivers
Alabama     16, or 17 w/ Intermediate License <6 months
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Alaska       Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Arizona   Yes
(Primary)
        Yes
Arkansas 1 18 - 20 years old (Primary) Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Secondary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
California Yes
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Secondary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Colorado     <18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Connecticut Yes
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban  
Delaware Yes
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Learner or Intermediate License (Primary) Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
D.C. Yes
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Learners Permit
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Florida       Yes
(Secondary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Georgia   Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Guam Yes
(Primary)
    Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban  
Hawaii Yes
(Primary)
  <18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Idaho       Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Illinois Yes
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
<19
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Indiana     <18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Iowa     Restricted or Intermediate License
(Primary)
Yes
(Secondary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Kansas     Learner or Intermediate License
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Kentucky   Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Louisiana Learner or Intermediate License
(regardless of age)
Yes
(Primary)
1st year of License
(Primary for <18)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Maine     <18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Maryland Yes
(Primary)
  <18 w/ Learner or Provisional License
(Secondary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Massachusetts   Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Michigan   Yes
(Primary)
Level 1 or 2 License
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Minnesota   Yes
(Primary)
<18 w/ Learner or Provisional License
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Mississippi   Yes
(Primary)
    Yes
(Primary)
Learner or Provisional License
(Primary)
Yes
Missouri           <21
(Primary)
Yes
Montana             Yes
Nebraska     <18 w/ Learner or Intermediate License
(Secondary)
Yes
(Secondary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Nevada Yes
(Primary)
    Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
New Hampshire 2       Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban  
New Jersey Yes
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Permit or Provisional License
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
New Mexico In State vehicles   Learner or Provisional License
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
(eff. 7/2014)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
New York Yes
(Primary)
    Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
North Carolina   Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
North Dakota     <18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Ohio     <18
(Primary)
Yes
(Secondary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Oklahoma Learner or Intermediate License
(Primary)
      Yes
(Primary)
Learner or Intermediate License
(Primary)
Yes
Oregon Yes
(Primary)
  <18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Pennsylvania       Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Puerto Rico Yes
(Primary)
    Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban  
Rhode Island   Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
South Carolina             Yes
South Dakota     Learner or Intermediate License
(Secondary)
Yes
(Secondary)
(eff. 7/2014)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Tennessee   Yes
(Primary)
Learner or Intermediate License
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Texas 3   Yes, w/ passenger <17
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
  Yes, w/ passenger <17
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
Utah   Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Vermont In work zones   <18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Virgin Islands Yes
(Primary)
    Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Virginia   Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Secondary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Washington Yes
(Primary)
  Learner or Intermediate Licence
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
West Virginia Yes
(Primary)
  <18 w/ Learner or Intermediate Licence
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Wisconsin     Learner or Intermediate Licence
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Wyoming     <18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Total States 12 + D.C. PR, Guam, Virgin Islands
All Primary
20 + D.C.
All Primary
37 + D.C.
Primary (31 + D.C.)
Secondary (6)
43 + D.C., PR, Guam, Virgin Islands
Primary (38 + D.C., PR, Guam, Virgin Islands)
Secondary (5)
3
All Primary
4
All Primary
48 + D.C., Virgin Islands
1 Arkansas also bans the use of hand-held cell phones while driving in a school zone or in a highway construction zone. This law is secondarily enforced.
2 Dealt with as a distracted driving issue; New Hampshire enacted a comprehensive distracted driving law.
3 Texas has banned the use of hand-held phones and texting in school zones.

Sources: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and State Highway Safety Offices.