Lawmakers in every state except Montana have enacted laws concerning texting and driving. Considered a dangerous practice, texting while driving pulls your attention away from the road and leads to preventable accidents. In order to stop the practice of texting and driving, local law enforcement issues citations, fines, and even jail time in extreme cases.
Find out more below about the penalties for texting and driving by state, facts associated with texting and driving, and apps that can prevent you from texting and driving.
Texting laws by state
The dangers of texting and driving have led to many states enacting laws either partially or totally prohibiting the act. You might have some confusion as to the texting and driving laws in your state. The table below shows the laws and penalties in various states when it comes to texting and 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.|
|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.|
Texting while driving facts
The bigger question is: why is texting and driving so dangerous? The following information from DoSomething.org highlights some intriguing facts when it comes to texting and driving.
- When texting, drivers take their attention away from the road for a minimum of five seconds, or the length of a football field when driving at 55 MPH.
- Drivers who text increase their chances of having an accident up to 23 times.
- Teenage drivers who text and drive spend, on average, 10% of their time while driving and texting outside of their driving lane.
- While 97% of teens questioned in an AT&T Teen Driver Survey agreed that texting and driving was a dangerous practice, 43% still engage in the practice anyway.
- Drivers of all ages use handheld devices while driving. Nineteen percent of drivers of all ages surf the Internet while driving.
Apps that help prevent texting while driving
In order to prevent texting while driving, you can download apps to you or your teen’s mobile device. These apps work by either shutting down a device’s ability to text altogether or by notifying a parent when teens do use a device while driving.
Texting and driving can lead to an accident, causing damage, injury, and possibly death, which is why it is important that you refrain from the practice. Most states across the U.S. now outlaw cell phone use or texting while driving, giving out fines and other penalties to offenders. If you have trouble not texting while driving, use one of the available apps mentioned above to curtail the activity.