Index: Cell phone laws, legislation by state

Last updated: February 7, 2015
driver using hands free cell phone deviceSee what your state’s cell phone and texting laws for drivers prohibit — or are about to prohibit. The majority of U.S. states have restrictions on drivers’ use of handheld electronics, with texting & driving barred in almost all states.

You are responsible for knowing the distracted driving laws while motoring in any state or municipal area.

See also: State distracted driving laws chart.

View distracted driving laws and legislation by state:

AlabamaAlaskaArizona – Arkansas – CaliforniaColorado

ConnecticutDelawareDistrict of ColumbiaFloridaGeorgiaHawaii



MontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew Mexico

New YorkNew York cities, countiesNorth CarolinaNorth Dakota

OhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth Carolina

South DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirginia

State of WashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

Interstate truck drivers and bus drivers prohibited from handheld cell phone use and text messaging, due to federal regulations that went into effect Jan. 3, 2012.


  1. As my son, who is a professional driver (school bus and taxi) has pointed out many times, the main problem he sees everyday is that the vast majority of drivers do not keep their heads moving to see what is going on around them. The look straight ahead with tunnel vision and are oblivious to their surroundings whether using a cell phone or not. …

  2. Is it illegal to pick up your cell phone to see who’s calling and then tap your Bluetooth headset to talk. Or is it illegal to just hold your cell phone in hand while driving without talking

    • Kenneth: It depends on the wording of your state or local law. Some states prohibit all holding of a phone. So you have to pull over to make or answer a call and can continue driving and talking once that’s done.

      Some states allow holding the phone to make or answer a call assuming you also use hands-free. And some states, of course, do not prohibit cell phone use.

      It also matters how the courts and cops interpret the law if it’s vague. So you have to read the local law carefully.

  3. Bill Branch says:

    First of all, talking on the phone while one is driving is not a necessity: it is not necessary to the operation of the vehicle, and what you have to say is not more important than your safety or the safety of other operators and/or pedestrians. You are not that important.

    The hands-free ban is the only way to go. More states must pass these laws, and police must enforce them, ad the fines must be higher with more points against license. The police must also have the right to confiscate hand-held devices.

    So, get over yourself. My safety is important to me. You aren’t that good a driver that you can throw away half your concentration. So drive in any lane, hang way back from car in front of you, and text away. Let’s make it legal to throw a bowling ball through the window of imbeciles using the devices. That’ll get their attention.

  4. I have driven a 18 wheeler for the last twenty four years. Across the united states. I smoke and I haven’t had no wrecks. At all because I don’t use a phone or blue tooth either. I wait until I am stopped. I have seen people come Down the off ramp and don’t look because they have a cell stuck in there left ear. If you see a wreck and a semi involved, 9 out of 10 the four wheeler was talking on the phone. And caused it.

  5. Jim wilson says:

    Ban people from having passengers, the only time I have had an accident was when I was talking to my passenger. Now that’s distracted driving.

  6. Do any of you remember when we didn’t have cell phones? How important are your calls? How important are you? 99% are NOT! These laws came up, thanks to you, because you pushed your FREEDOM too far enough not to care about others on the road even causing many deaths. So please behave in public.

  7. We should not be smoking or any other distractions while driving especially cell phone use both talking and texting. It has been proven as dangerous and deadly. And yes, we need strict laws banning cell phone use while driving and we also need the education that goes with it. I know first hand how dangerous this is. I almost lost two of my family members because the driver who hit them was talking on the cell phone and fiddling with the radio. These two family members went through so much and will never be the same. So please, no distractions while driving and either turn off your cell phone, put it in the glove box, or trunk while you are driving. Thank you.

  8. Pierre G. ROY says:

    I suppose that all these people worrying about this have a reason.

    When driving, you shall keep your eyes on the road, with the least distractions as possible. Talking is not necessarily dangerous but handling a phone might very well be. So any handsfree device is welcome according to me, anyway.

    • Al Cinamon says:

      In NY, the law is that you must have at least one hand on the wheel. So what’s the difference if I’m holding a phone or a cup of coffee, or pencil or just hanging my arm out the window? The conversation is the distraction, but no state bans that. Instead they encourage it by telling drivers to use hands-free devices. What a crock!

  9. cheryl markaverich says:

    I would like to make this law a lot more strickter than it has been and also put it in a special person’s name whom happen to be the relative of somebody that I know. She is the first person that was killed from texting, and I would like to know who our legistlater is for nh. thank you — please be careful out there

  10. Paul Uhl says:

    Along with the passage of legislation there needs to be conversation and education. It is tragic to see that a over a quarter of our teens of driving age text while driving, and car crashes account for nearly a third of teenage deaths. These are statistics, but so much of this is preventable. We can save lives not by legislation alone, but through education and technology. Hands-free calling and texting is available now.

  11. Wow. Seriously?….smoking is a far cry from being the same as using the phone while driving. Maybe start to look at the evidence towards your cognitive response while talking on a phone and driving. I’m seriously tired of people throwing lines in the air without research. There is no reason in hell we really need to be on the phone and drive. It has been proven to be worse than drunk driving…its just a matter of time before the law gets serious and huge fines are given….but thats after the fact that many people will die or be hurt do to someone’s ignorance.

  12. I totally agree. Where are the laws on cigarettes and driving.. There are so much more dangerous distractions…. strip joint bilboards….etc…..nanny state…indeed.

  13. Barbara Ceo says:

    There are much greater distractions than cell phone use.

    Consider banning people from waving and yelling at drivers during election campaigns and waving signs at drivers.

    Consider banning costumed people or moving non-human objects and characters from attempting to get the attention of drivers to buy food or support their cause.

    Flashing neon signs and moving messages on a screen distract drivers.

    We are allowed to talk to others in the car as we drive. So, the hearing impaired sign to each other while driving as they take their eyes off the road and their hands off the wheel to do so.

    But you call those things freedom of speech. We have laws allowing freedom of speech. So we can’t ban those distractions.

    How is talking on a cell phone NOT free speech?

    Ban all the distractions on our roads before you start on phones.
    Cell phone usage constitutes freedom of speech.

    • Al Cinamon says:

      I guess you would also be for banning red lights since they prohibit our freedom of movement. We do have a right to travel wherever and whenever we want. So, how dare they pass a law that we must stop for a red light? Your argument is totally inane! And surely you know that free speech doesn’t allow you to yell fire in a theater, or do you?

    • I have a novel idea, let’s get back to personal responsibilities. In 1980 when I started driving trucks, talking on CBs, eating hamburgers, and shifting steering with your knee in a cabover. That’s what freedom used to look like in 1980. Now, nanny state, HOW ABOUT GET OUT OF MY LIFE. This just shows the liberals scumbags need for controlling all life. I will say it again personal responsibility should be the law instead.

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