Distracted Driving

This chart outlines state distracted driving laws. Some localities have additional regulations. Enforcement type is also noted.

  • Handheld Cellphone Use: 22 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using handheld cellphones while driving. All are primary enforcement laws — an officer may cite a driver for using a handheld cellphone without any other traffic offense taking place.
  • All Cellphone Use: No state bans all cellphone use for all drivers, but 37 states and D.C. ban all cellphone use by novice drivers, and 23 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, 48 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers. All but three have primary enforcement. Of the two states without an all-driver texting ban, one prohibits text messaging by novice drivers.

Crash Data Collection: All states except two (Connecticut and New Hampshire) 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?

    Yes. Primary law. (Warning period in effect through 01/01/2021)

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    Yes, for instruction and intermediate permit holders under 18. Secondary Law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Arkansas

    Hand-Held Ban?

    School and work zones only. 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.

  • 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?

    School and work zones only. Primary law. (eff. 10/1/19)

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    No

    Novice Drivers

    No

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law. (eff. 10/1/19)

  • Georgia

    Hand-Held Ban?

    Yes. Primary Law.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    No

    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?

    Yes. Primary law.

    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?

    Yes. Primary law.

    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. Primary 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. Drivers in school zones. 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.

  • Maine

    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.

  • Maryland

    Hand-Held Ban?

    Yes. Primary law.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes, handheld ban. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 18. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Massachusetts

    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.

  • Michigan

    Hand-Held Ban?

    No

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes, handheld ban. 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?

    Yes. Primary law.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers with learner under 18 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. Primary law.

    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?

    No

    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

    Yes. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    No

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Secondary 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?

    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.

  • 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?

    Yes. Primary law.

    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?

    Yes. Primary law.

    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, while vehicle is in motion. Primary law.

  • Texas

    Hand-Held Ban?

    Yes, in school crossing zones and on public school property only. Primary law.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes, with minor passengers. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers under 18. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

    *Note: Texas has banned the use of hand-held phones 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?

    Yes. Primary law. (eff. 1/1/21)

    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, except in work zones.

    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.