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

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How Much a Distracted Driving Ticket Costs You in the Long Run
Cheryl Knight · Writer · Sep 13, 2017
TABLE OF CONTENTS
    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.
    The sections below detail what exactly you can expect when you get a distracted driving ticket and how much a ticket can cause your car insurance premiums to increase. Part 1 defines distracted driving, Part 2 discusses the penalties associated with distracted driving, and Part 3 mentions non-financial penalties such as driver’s license suspension or jail time.

    Part 1 of 3: What constitutes 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

    Part 2 of 3: Distracted driving 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 GHSA.org and Countrywideppls.com, 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:
    Cell Phone and Texting Restrictions by State
    State Cell Phone Handheld Use Ban Text Messaging While Driving Ban Penalties for Cell Phone Use and Texting While Driving (as of 7-2017)
    Alabama No All drivers First offense: $25 fine; second offense: $50 fine; subsequent offenses: $75 fine
    Alaska No All drivers Charged with a misdemeanor if no accident. Charged with a felony if an accident with injury.
    Arizona No Only for permit holders under 18 No penalty.
    Arkansas Drivers 18 to 20 All drivers Up to a $100 fine.
    California Yes All drivers First offense: $20 fine; subsequent offenses: $50 fine.
    Colorado No All drivers First offense: $56 fine; Subsequent offense: $106 fine.
    Connecticut Yes All drivers First offense: $125 fine; subsequent offenses: $250 fine.
    Delaware Yes All drivers First offense: $106 fine; subsequent offenses: up to a $350 fine.
    D.C. Yes All drivers Fine of $100.
    Florida No All drivers Fine of $30.
    Georgia No All drivers Fine of $150 plus one point on driving record.
    Hawaii Yes All drivers First offense: $200 fine; second offense (within same year) $300 fine.
    Idaho No All drivers Fines start at $85 for the first offense.
    Illinois Yes All drivers Fines start at $75 for a first offense.
    Indiana No All drivers Fine ranges from $35 to $500.
    Iowa No All drivers Fine of $30, or up to $1,000 for causing a serious accident while texting.
    Kansas No All drivers Fine of $60.
    Kentucky No All drivers First offense: $25 plus court costs; subsequent offenses: $50 plus court costs.
    Louisiana Drivers with permits, regardless of age All drivers First offense: $175 fine; subsequent offenses: $500 fine.
    Maine No All drivers First offense: $100 fine; fines increase for subsequent offenses.
    Maryland Yes All drivers Fine ranges from $40 to $100.
    Massachusetts No All drivers First offense: $100 fine; subsequent offenses: $250 fine.
    Michigan No All drivers First offense: $100 fine; subsequent offenses: $200 fine.
    Minnesota No All drivers Fines up to $300 per offense.
    Mississippi No All drivers Fine of $500 for a first time offender.
    Missouri No Drivers 21 and under Fine of $20.50.
    Montana No No No penalty.
    Nebraska No All drivers First offense: $200 fine; second offense: $300 fine; subsequent offenses: $500 fine.
    Nevada Yes All drivers First offense: $50 fine; second offense (within seven years): $100 fine; subsequent offenses (within seven years): $250 fine.
    New Hampshire Yes All drivers $100 fine.
    New Jersey Yes All drivers $100 fine.
    New Mexico In-state vehicles All drivers First offense: $25 fine; subsequent offenses: $50 fine.
    New York Yes All drivers Fine of $150 plus mandatory fees up to $85.
    North Carolina No All drivers Novice drivers: $25 fine; adult drivers: $100 fine.
    North Dakota No All drivers Fine of $100.
    Ohio No All drivers Up to $150 fine. Up to a $300 fine for novice drivers.
    Oklahoma Drivers with permits All drivers Suspended or revoked driver's license.
    Oregon Yes All drivers Fine of $142.
    Pennsylvania No All drivers Fine of $50.
    Rhode Island No All drivers First offense: $85 fine; second offense: $100 fine; subsequent offenses: $125 fine.
    South Carolina No. All drivers Fine amount varies by county.
    South Dakota No. All drivers Fine of $100.
    Tennessee No. All drivers Fine of $50 plus court costs (not to exceed $10).
    Texas No. Banned in school zones All drivers No penalty.
    Utah No All drivers Fine of $750 and/or jail time of up to three months.
    Vermont Yes All drivers First offense: $100 fine; subsequent offenses (within two years): $250 fine
    Virginia No All drivers First offense: $125 fine; subsequent offenses: $250 fine.
    Washington Yes All drivers First offense: $124 fine.
    West Virginia Yes All drivers First offense: $25 fine; second offenses: $50 fine; subsequent offenses: $75 fine.
    Wisconsin No All drivers Fine of $20 to $400, and up to four points on driving record.
    Wyoming No All drivers Up to a $75 fine.

    Part 3 of 3: Other costs associated with distracted driving

    In addition to monetary fines, a driver’s license suspension, or 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 of 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:
    Average Car Insurance Increase for One Accident by State
    National Ranking (smallest to biggest price increase) State Average Annual Rate Increase Compared to Drivers With Clean Records
    1 New York $80
    2 Connecticut $147
    3 Tennessee $153
    4 New Hampshire $157
    5 Indiana $190
    6 Nebraska $200
    7 Georgia $222
    8 Maine $272
    9 (tie) North Dakota $277
    9 (tie) Pennsylvania $277
    11 Minnesota $283
    12 Ohio $294
    13 Vermont $295
    14 Kansas $299
    15 Delaware $308
    16 Mississippi $319
    17 Washington $322
    18 Missouri $328
    19 Hawaii $334
    20 West Virginia $339
    21 Illinois $340
    22 Wisconsin $351
    23 South Dakota $355
    24 Rhode Island $356
    25 Idaho $363
    26 Colorado $368
    27 Alabama $397
    28 Virginia $406
    29 Oklahoma $410
    30 Iowa $420
    31 Utah $422
    32 South Carolina $425
    33 Maryland $452
    34 Wyoming $480
    35 Montana $492
    36 North Carolina $500
    37 Arkansas $510
    38 Massachusetts $566
    39 Texas $586
    40 Oregon $606
    41 California $608
    42 Louisiana $684
    43 Alaska $687
    44 New Mexico $759
    45 Nevada $808
    46 Michigan $810
    47 New Jersey $835
    48 Florida $843
    49 Arizona $865
    50 Kentucky $893
    51 District of Columbia $1,041
    Average increase by state $446
    Credit: [NerdWallet](https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/insurance/how-much-car-insurance-quotes-rise-after-an-accident-or-violation/)
    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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