Cell Phone Laws in each State

The most current information on state laws and cell phone usage can be found at the Governors Highway Safety Association website. To find out the exact laws in any particular state its advisable to visit this website, because depending on the state, the laws vary.  

In brief, 10 states enforce laws that ban hand-held devices. While no state has a complete ban on all forms of cell phone use, 32 states do have laws banning all forms of cellular usage by certain drivers. Bus drivers are restricted from both hand-held and hands-free devices while passengers are on board in 3 states. The other group that have been restricted by 32 states from all forms of cellular communication while driving, are young drivers under a certain age and novice drivers. This ban includes hands-free devices that many cars come manufactured with a new car. 39 states have banned texting while driving and all but four of those states will ticket those who violate this law.

Enforcing cell phone usage laws also vary from state to state. States which primarily enforce a law allows police to cite a driver just for using a cell phone in a prohibitive manner while driving, while other states will cite the person if they have committed any other traffic offense, or are involved in an accident.

The ten states which have banned hand-held devices (which includes talk and text):

New Jersey
New York

If a policeman sees a person driving and using a hand-held cellular device in any of the above states, they can pull them over specifically for that reason and ticket them. In Southern California a cell phone violation will cost a driver anywhere from $76.00 to $200.00 depending on how many previous violations there are and court penalties and fees. 

In some states like Hawaii, where there is not a specific law that states hand-held devices are not permitted while driving, this kind of activity is prohibited under each counties distracted driving ordinances. In Idaho it is required that in the event of an accident or traffic violation, that the officer record the fact that a hand-held device was a distracting factor.  

To find out the specific laws for each state, visit Governors Highway Safety Association where the laws are outlined, click on the state of interest for an in-depth description of that state’s laws on cell phone usage and driving.  Ignorance is not an excuse for breaking the law.