Cell Phone Driving Laws By State 2020

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “distracted driving” is a major menace on America’s roads, and the biggest distraction is using a cell phone while driving. In 2017, there were 2,935 fatal “distracted driving” crashes in America, and 14 percent of them involved a cell phone. It is estimated that cell phone use by drivers causes 1.6 million crashes per year and 390,000 injuries. Texting while driving turns out to be six times more likely than drunk driving to cause a crash.

States have moved broadly to limit cell phone use by drivers. As of April 2020, talking on a hand-held cellphone while driving is banned in 24 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories (Indiana and South Dakota’s laws become effective July 1, 2020; Virginia’s law becomes effective on January 1, 2021; Arizona will issue warnings until 2021 when it will issue tickets). Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia also ban use of cellphones by school bus drivers.

Text messaging is banned for all drivers in 48 states and the District of Columbia. The only exceptions are sparsely populated Montana; and Missouri, which bans texting by drivers under 21. Laws for new or younger drivers are even more restrictive: the use of all cellphones by novice drivers is restricted in 38 states and the District of Columbia. In almost all states that restrict or ban the use of cellphones by drivers, violation is a “primary” offense, which means police can pull you over and ticket you without some other violation.

Cell Phone Driving Laws By State 2020

Source:
State 2020 Pop.
Alabama4,908,620
Alaska734,002
Arizona7,378,490
Arkansas3,039,000
California39,937,500
Colorado5,845,530
Connecticut3,563,080
Delaware982,895
District of Columbia720,687
Florida21,993,000
Georgia10,736,100
Hawaii1,412,690
Idaho1,826,160
Illinois12,659,700
Indiana6,745,350
Iowa3,179,850
Kansas2,910,360
Kentucky4,499,690
Louisiana4,645,180
Maine1,345,790
Maryland6,083,120
Massachusetts6,976,600
Michigan10,045,000
Minnesota5,700,670
Mississippi2,989,260
Missouri6,169,270
Montana1,086,760
Nebraska1,952,570
Nevada3,139,660
New Hampshire1,371,250
New Jersey8,936,570
New Mexico2,096,640
New York19,440,500
North Carolina10,611,900
North Dakota761,723
Ohio11,747,700
Oklahoma3,954,820
Oregon4,301,090
Pennsylvania12,820,900
Rhode Island1,056,160
South Carolina5,210,100
South Dakota903,027
Tennessee6,897,580
Texas29,472,300
Utah3,282,120
Vermont628,061
Virginia8,626,210
Washington7,797,100
West Virginia1,778,070
Wisconsin5,851,750
Wyoming567,025