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Cell Phone and Texting Bans Increasing by State

As of February 2010, according to the Governor's Highway Safety Association, many states prohibit or limit the use of cell phones while driving.

The GHSA reports the state laws currently in effect:


  • Handheld Cell Phone Bans for All Drivers: 6 states (California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Washington), the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from talking on handheld cell phones while driving.
  • With the exception of Washington State, these laws are all primary enforcement--an officer may ticket a driver for using a handheld cell phone while driving without any other traffic offense taking place.
  • All Cell Phone Bans: No state completely bans all types of cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for all drivers, but many prohibit cell phone use by certain segments of the population.
  • Novice Drivers: 21 states and the District of Columbia ban all cell use by novice drivers.
  • School Bus Drivers: In 17 states and the District of Columbia, school bus drivers are prohibited from all cell phone use when passengers are present.
  • Text Messaging: 19 states, the District of Columbia and Guam now ban text messaging for all drivers. Fifteen states, D.C., and Guam have primary enforcement. In the other four states, all driver texting bans are secondarily enforced. Some states have limited texting bans.
  • Novice Drivers: 9 states prohibit text messaging by novice drivers.
  • School Bus Drivers: 1 state restricts school bus drivers from texting while driving.

Nevada, however, is one of six states that has preemption laws that prohibit local jurisdictions from enacting cell phone and/or texting while driving bans.

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