How Much a Distracted Driving Ticket Costs You in the Long Run

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With the introduction of cell phones, distracted driving took a step into the national spotlight. Blamed for both minor and serious accidents, states have moved to regulate the use of handheld devices while operating a car.
In addition to cell phone use, other forms of distracted driving can result in fines and other penalties, as well as an increase in your car insurance premiums.
Jerry has detailed exactly what you can expect when you get a distracted driving ticket and how much a ticket can cause your car insurance premiums to increase.
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What is distracted driving?

More than just using a handheld device while on the road, distracted driving occurs whenever you divert your attention from the road while driving to do something else. Some of the more common causes of distracted driving include:
  • Putting on makeup and other personal grooming
  • Texting, sending an email, or checking social media with a handheld device
  • Taking a photograph with a handheld device
  • Checking a GPS device or map
  • Using apps on a handheld device
  • Messing with the radio/CD player
  • Taking your eyes off the road to reach for an object
  • Engaging in conversation with a passenger

Distracted driving tickets and other penalties

Texting and driving represent the biggest culprits behind accidents caused by distracted driving. Many states have implemented new laws designed to cut down on the instances of distracted driving on state roadways.
The following chart, created using information from and, details the handheld use laws in different states and how much you can expect to pay for getting caught using a handheld device while driving:
StateCell Phone Handheld Use BanText Messaging While Driving BanPenalties for Cell Phone Use and Texting While Driving
ALNoAll driversFirst offense: $25 fine; second offense: $50 fine; subsequent offenses: $75 fine
AKNoAll driversCharged with a misdemeanor if no accident. Charged with a felony if an accident with injury.
AZNoOnly for permit holders under 18No penalty
ARDrivers 18 to 20All driversUp to a $100 fine.
CAYesAll driversFirst offense: $20 fine; subsequent offenses: $50 fine.
CONoAll driversFirst offense: $56 fine; Subsequent offense: $106 fine.
CTYesAll driversFirst offense: $125 fine; subsequent offenses: $250 fine.
DCYesAll driversFine of $100.
DEYesAll driversFirst offense: $106 fine; subsequent offenses: up to a $350 fine.
FLNoAll driversFine of $30.
GANoAll driversFine of $150 plus one point on driving record.
HIYesAll driversFirst offense: $200 fine; second offense (within same year) $300 fine.
IANoAll driversFine of $30, or up to $1,000 for causing a serious accident while texting.
IDNoAll driversFines start at $85 for the first offense.
ILYesAll driversFines start at $75 for a first offense.
INNoAll driversFine ranges from $35 to $500.
KSNoAll driversFine of $60.
KYNoAll driversFirst offense: $25 plus court costs; subsequent offenses: $50 plus court costs.
LADrivers with permits, regardless of ageAll driversFirst offense: $175 fine; subsequent offenses: $500 fine.
MANoAll driversFirst offense: $100 fine; subsequent offenses: $250 fine.
MDYesAll driversFine ranges from $40 to $100.
MENoAll driversFirst offense: $100 fine; fines increase for subsequent offenses.
MINoAll driversFirst offense: $100 fine; subsequent offenses: $200 fine.
MNNoAll driversFines up to $300 per offense.
MONoDrivers 21 and underFine of $20.50.
MSNoAll driversFine of $500 for a first time offender.
MTNoNoNo penalty.
NCNoAll driversNovice drivers: $25 fine; adult drivers: $100 fine.
NDNoAll driversFine of $100.
NENoAll driversFirst offense: $200 fine; second offense: $300 fine; subsequent offenses: $500 fine.
NHYesAll drivers$100 fine.
NJYesAll drivers$100 fine.
NMIn-state vehiclesAll driversFirst offense: $25 fine; subsequent offenses: $50 fine.
NVYesAll driversFirst offense: $50 fine; second offense (within seven years): $100 fine; subsequent offenses (within seven years): $250 fine.
NYYesAll driversFine of $150 plus mandatory fees up to $85.
OHNoAll driversUp to $150 fine. Up to a $300 fine for novice drivers.
OKDrivers with permitsAll driversSuspended or revoked driver's license.
ORYesAll driversFine of $142.
PANoAll driversFine of $50.
RINoAll driversFirst offense: $85 fine; second offense: $100 fine; subsequent offenses: $125 fine.
SCNoAll driversFine amount varies by county.
SDNoAll driversFine of $100.
TNNoAll driversFine of $50 plus court costs (not to exceed $10).
TXNo, banned in school zonesAll driversNo penalty.
UTNoAll driversFine of $750 and/or jail time of up to three months.
VANoAll driversFirst offense: $125 fine; subsequent offenses: $250 fine.
VTYesAll driversFirst offense: $100 fine; subsequent offenses (within two years): $250 fine.
WAYesAll driversFirst offense: $124 fine.
WINoAll driversFine of $20 to $400, and up to four points on driving record.
WVYesAll driversFirst offense: $25 fine; second offenses: $50 fine; subsequent offenses: $75 fine.
WYNoAll driversUp to a $75 fine.

Other costs associated with distracted driving

In addition to tickets, driver's license suspensions, and jail time, distracted driving can also lead to higher car insurance premiums.
Texting, the most common form of distracted driving, causes your premiums to go up when you accrue points on your driving record, though not all states assign points for such a violation. States that don't assign points for texting-while-driving include:
  • California
  • Delaware
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
When you live in a state that does put points on your record for a distracted driving ticket, expect to pay more per year on your car insurance premiums. As an example, the following table from NerdWallet illustrates just how much more you can expect to pay each year with just one accident on your record, a common occurrence when driving while distracted:
National Ranking (smallest to biggest price increase)StateAverage Annual Rate Increase Compared to Drivers With Clean Records
1New York$80
4New Hampshire$157
9 (tie)North Dakota$277
9 (tie)Pennsylvania$277
20West Virginia$339
23South Dakota$355
24Rhode Island$356
32South Carolina$425
36North Carolina$500
44New Mexico$759
47New Jersey$835
51District of Columbia$1,041
Average increase by state$446
Credit: NerdWallet

Try shopping with Jerry

As you can see, driving while distracted can lead to hefty fines and an increase in your car insurance premium in many states. Avoid the hassle of paying higher insurance premiums when this happens by switching to another car insurance company.
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