This chart outlines state distracted driving laws. Some localities have additional regulations. Enforcement type is also noted.
Hand-held Cell Phone Use: 18 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 39 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, 48 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers. All but 3 have primary enforcement. Of the 2 states without an all driver texting ban, 1 prohibits text messaging by novice drivers.
Crash Data Collection: All states except 2 (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.
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.
18 states ban drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving. 39 states ban all cell phone use by novice drivers, and 20 states prohibit it for school bus drivers. Currently, 48 states ban text messaging for all drivers.
To mark the beginning of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the Riverside County California Highway Patrol is running a high visibility enforcement effort. California Office of Traffic Safety Director and GHSA Vice Chair Rhonda Craft discusses the campaign's importance.
As Minnesota launches a high visibility enforcement period aimed at reducing distracted driving, Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety Director Mike Hanson addresses the role technology plays in distraction.
The Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) is running it's annual Operation Incognito campaign to detect and deter distracted driving. THSO Director and GHSA Region 4 Representative Vic Donoho discusses the effort.
A new study suggests that handheld device bans to deter distracted driving result in fewer emergency room visits related to crash injuries. GHSA's Russ Martin discusses the importance of strong laws to bolster enforcement.
While most drivers acknowledge that using their phone behind the wheel is dangerous, many admit continuing to engage in the behavior. GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins emphasizes the importance of strong, enforceable laws to address the issue.
Distracted driving continues to pose a significant threat on our roads, even though many drivers recognize the risks. California Office of Traffic Safety Director and GHSA Board Member Rhonda Craft addresses the need for a change in public perception.
Statement for attribution to Governors Highway Safety Association Director of Policy and Government Relations Russ Martin
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) thanks the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for conducting ongoing research to better understand the prevalence of distracted driving and its role in traffic crashes.
Distracted driving continues to be a critical issue on roads nationwide. GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins speaks to how frequent under-reporting of distraction makes it difficult to assess the issue's severity.