Distracted Driving

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

  • Hand-held Cell Phone Use: 14 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving. All are primary enforcement laws—an officer may cite a driver for using a hand-held cell phone without any other traffic offense taking place.
  • All Cell Phone Use: No state bans all cell phone use for all drivers, but 38 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use by novice drivers, and 20 states and D.C. prohibit it for school bus drivers.
  • Text Messaging: Washington was the first state to pass a texting ban in 2007. Currently, 46 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers. All but 5 have primary enforcement. Of the 4 states without an all driver texting ban:
    • 2 prohibit text messaging by novice drivers.
    • 1 restricts school bus drivers from texting.

Crash Data Collection: All states except 2 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.

Distracted Driving Law Chart
Law Chart

Preemption Laws: Some states have preemption laws that prohibit local jurisdictions from enacting their own distracted driving bans. States with such laws include – but may not be limited to – Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Oregon and South Carolina.

A PDF chart of state distracted driving laws is available for download here.

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.

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

  • Alabama

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    16, or 17 with Intermediate License for less than 6 months. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Alaska

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    No

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Arizona

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    No

    Text Messaging Ban?

    No text messaging ban for any drivers, including school bus drivers and novice drivers.

  • Arkansas

    Hand-Held Ban?

    Drivers 18-20 years old. Primary law.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 18. Secondary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

    *Note: 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. 

  • California

    Hand-Held Ban?

    Yes. Primary law.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 18. Secondary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Colorado

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 18. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Connecticut

    Hand-Held Ban?

    Yes. Primary law.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 18. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Delaware

    Hand-Held Ban?

    Yes. Primary law.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers with learner or intermediate licence. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • District of Columbia

    Hand-Held Ban?

    Yes. Primary law.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers with learner's permit. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Florida

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    No

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Secondary law.

  • Georgia

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 18. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Guam

    Hand-Held Ban?

    Yes. Primary law.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    No

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Hawaii

    Hand-Held Ban?

    Yes. Primary law.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 18. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Idaho

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    No

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Illinois

    Hand-Held Ban?

    Yes. Primary law.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 19. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Indiana

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 21. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Iowa

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers with restricted or intermediate license. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Secondary law.

  • Kansas

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers with learner or intermediate license. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Kentucky

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 18. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Louisiana

    Hand-Held Ban?

    Drivers with learner or intermediate license, regardless of age.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers within first year of licensure. Primary law for drivers under 18.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Maine

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers with learner or intermediate license. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Maryland

    Hand-Held Ban?

    Yes. Primary law.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 18. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Massachusetts

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 18. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Michigan

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers with Level 1 or Level 2 license. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Minnesota

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 18 with learner or provisional licenses. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Mississippi

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    No

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Missouri

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    No

    Text Messaging Ban?

    For drivers 21 and under. Primary law.

  • Montana

    No bans on hand-held use, cell phone use, or text messaging for any drivers.

  • Nebraska

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 18 with learner or intermediate license. Secondary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Secondary law.

  • Nevada

    Hand-Held Ban?

    Yes. Primary law.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    No

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • New Hampshire

    Hand-Held Ban?

    Yes. Primary law.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 18. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • New Jersey

    Hand-Held Ban?

    Yes. Primary law.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers with permit or provisional license. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • New Mexico

    Hand-Held Ban?

    In State vehicles.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers with learner or provisional license. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • New York

    Hand-Held Ban?

    Yes. Primary law.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    No

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • North Carolina

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 18. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • North Dakota

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 18. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Ohio

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 18. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Oklahoma

    Hand-Held Ban?

    Drivers with learner or intermediate license. Primary law.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    No

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Oregon

    Hand-Held Ban?

    Yes. Primary law.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 18. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Pennsylvania

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    No

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Puerto Rico

    Hand-Held Ban?

    Yes. Primary law.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    No

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Rhode Island

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 18. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • South Carolina

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    No

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • South Dakota

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers with learner or intermediate license. Secondary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Secondary law.

  • Tennessee

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers with learner or intermediate license. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Texas

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes, when passengers are 17 and under. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 18. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    School bus drivers with passengers 17 and under. Drivers under 18. Primary laws.

    *Note: Texas has banned the use of hand-held phones and texting in school zones.

  • Utah

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 18. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Vermont

    Hand-Held Ban?

    Yes. Primary law.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 18. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Virgin Islands

    Hand-Held Ban?

    Yes. Primary law.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    No

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Virginia

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 18. Secondary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Washington

    Hand-Held Ban?

    Yes. Primary law.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers with learner or intermediate license. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • West Virginia

    Hand-Held Ban?

    Yes. Primary law.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 18 with learner or intermediate license. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Wisconsin

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers with learner or intermediate license. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Wyoming

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    No

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.