Distracted Driving

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

  • Hand-held Cell Phone Use: 16 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, 47 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers. All but 4 have primary enforcement. Of the 3 states without an all driver texting ban, 2 prohibit text messaging by novice drivers.

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.

Short Term Description
16 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving. 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. Currently, 47 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers.

Midwesterners worst for texting while driving, racing through yellow lights: survey


In our fast-paced society, many admit to texting while driving despite acknowledging it as a dangerous behavior. Article features an interview with GHSA Communications Director Kara Macek.

Midwesterners worst for texting while driving, racing through yellow lights: survey

December 4, 2016
Article by Mary Wisniewski

AT&T's It Can Wait

Launched in 2010, AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign shares a simple message: distracted driving is never OK. The campaign has evolved as smartphone driving distractions have grown beyond texting to include social media, web surfing, video chatting and more. Last summer, AT&T launched a nationwide virtual reality tour to help people understand that it’s not possible to drive safely while using a smartphone.

Distracted Driving

GHSA Policy

Click here to view GHSA's Policies and Priorities on Distracted Driving.

AT&T

In 2010, AT&T launched the “Texting & Driving, It Can Wait” campaign with a simple message – when it comes to texting and driving, no text is worth a life… It Can Wait. Now, as the campaign moves into its 6th yearits message has evolved as smartphone driving distractions have grown beyond texting to social media, web surfing, video chatting and more.

Allstate

Allstate is the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, protecting approximately 16 million households from life’s uncertainties through auto, home, life and other insurance. The company has a long history of promoting safety on America’s roadways. This effort dates back to the 1950s, when Allstate stood at the forefront of driver education nationwide. Other noteworthy efforts include airbag and passive restraint advocacy, tougher DUI laws, bumper improvements and theft prevention.

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