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State Laws on Distracted Driving - Ban on Hand-Held Devices and Texting While Driving
A primary law means that an officer can ticket the driver for the offense without any other traffic violation taking place. A secondary law means an officer can only issue a ticket if a driver has been pulled over for another violation (like speeding).
Hand-held Cell Phone Use: 16 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving. All are primary enforcement laws—an officer may cite a driver for using a hand-held cell phone without any other traffic offense taking place.
Text Messaging: Washington was the first state to pass a texting ban in 2007. Currently, 47 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers. All but 4 have primary enforcement. Of the 3 states without an all driver texting ban, 2 prohibit text messaging by novice drivers.
KEY: Y = Yes.
Governors Highway Safety Association, Distracted Driving, Distracted Driving Laws by State, available at as of Nov. 8, 2018.