Cell Phone Laws by State

New Cell Phone Driving laws are a huge topic in the cellular world right now. It can be a little confusing, so LA Wireless has put together a list of all the states, their DMV websites, and a highlight of their cell phone driving laws. Each state is different, so be sure to check each state that you drive or will be driving in.

Please remember that ignorance of a law is not an excuse for breaking the law. It is your responsibility to understand the laws.


Arizona
School bus drivers can't use cell phones while they're driving school buses. This includes hands-free cell phone use as would be available with a car-kit or headset. No other laws have been passed yet regarding other cellular phone driving restrictions. Although they do mention safety tips for driving and using a cell phone in there Driver's ed book. Look on page 23.

Arkansas
School bus drivers cant use cell phones while they're driving school buses. This includes hands-free cell phone use. No other laws have been passed yet regarding other cellular phone driving restrictions. Although they do mention safety tips for driving and using a cell phone in there Driver's ed book. Look on page 26.

California
Drivers 18 years of age and older are required to use a hands-free device while driving. Teens (under age 18) are not permitted to use cellular phones or other wireless devices while driving. CA DMV HANDBOOK: -Look on page viii. Frequently Asked Questions.

Colorado
Drivers under 18 cannot use a cell phone in any way while driving. This includes hands-free use cell phone use. Unless it is because of an emergency, or you are contacting the police or fire department, or you have parked your car. No other laws have been passed yet regarding other cellular phone driving restrictions. Although they do mention safety tips for driving and using a cell phone in there Driver's ed book. Look on page 9 and 12.

Connecticut
School bus drivers cant use cell phones while they're driving school buses. This includes hands-free use cell phone use. Hand-held cell phones or mobile electronic devices may not be used while operating a motor vehicle on any public highway. Drivers are permitted only to use hands-free mobile telephone accessories. However, drivers who are 16 or 17 years of age are not permitted to use any type of cell phone or mobile electronic device while driving. A “mobile electronic device” includes a laptop computer, personal digital assistant or paging or text-messaging device. The exceptions to this requirement, where a cell phone or mobile electronic device may be used, by a driver of any age, is an emergency situation, when contacting an emergency response operator, a hospital, physician’s office, health clinic, ambulance company or fire or police department. In addition, drivers who are 18 years of age and older who are peace officers, firefighters, or ambulance drivers may use hand-held cell phones and electronic devices. Look on page 24.

Delaware
Drivers with a graduated licensing permit cant use a cell phone while they're driving. This includes hands-free cell phone use. No other laws have been passed yet regarding other cellular phone driving restrictions. Although they do mention safety tips for driving and using a cell phone in there Driver's ed book. Look on page 89.

District of Columbia
All drivers in D.C. must use hands free cell phone devices. Voice activation for making calls and using cell phone headsets or car-kits help residents use their cell phones legally while driving. Drivers under 18 cannot use a cell phone while driving, even with a hands-free cell phone accessory like a cell phone headset. Look on page 14, 22, 24, 51.

Florida
Cell phone use is allowed as long as sound is provided in one ear and the surrounding sound can be heard through the other ear. Using a cell phone headset like a Bluetooth headset that wraps around one ear fits the legal requirements of this law. Many traditional corded headsets cover both ears, which would make them inappropriate for use in a moving vehicle in Florida. Florida also has preemption laws that prevent local jurisdictions from further restricting cell phone use in cars. No other laws have been passed yet regarding other cellular phone driving restrictions. Although they do mention safety tips for driving and using a cell phone in there Driver's ed book. Distracted Drivers.

Iowa
No laws have been passed yet regarding cellular phone driving restrictions.
http://www.iamvd.com/ods/dlmanual/dlmanual.pdf

Illinois
School bus drivers cant use cell phones while they're driving school buses. This includes hands-free cell-phone use. Each county has it's own laws regarding cellular phone driving restrictions. Some counties require a hands-free device, while others don't. Nothing is mentioned in the Driver Hand Book. Please check with your county DMV for laws. http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_x14210.pdf

Kentucky
Has preemption laws that prevent local jurisdictions from restricting cell phone use in cars. There are not any laws regarding cellular phone driving restrictions mentioned in their hand book. Drivers Manual

Louisiana
Has preemption laws preventing local jurisdictions from limiting cell phone use in cars. No other laws have been passed yet regarding cellular phone driving restrictions. Although they do mention avoiding cellular phone use in their driver hand book. Look on page 52.

Massachusetts
School bus drivers cant use cell phones while they're driving school buses. This includes hands-free cell phone use. For regular vehicles, cell phone use is permitted as long as one hand remains on the steering wheel at all times. In this case, Massachusetts residents should look at cell phone accessories that let them keep one hand on the wheel and still use their cell phones as they drive. Technically, cell phones with voice activation may be all state residents, since drivers in Massachusetts can hold the cell phone with one hand while driving with their other hand on the wheel. In Brookline, a neighborhood west of Boston, hands-free cell phone devices, such as a car-kit or a headset, are required while driving. Look on page 64.

Maine
Drivers under 18 with a restricted license may not use a cell phone while driving. This includes hands-free cell phone use. http://www.maine.gov/sos/bmv/licenses/graduateddriverlicense.htm No other laws have been passed yet regarding cellular phone driving restrictions. Although they do mention avoiding cellular phone use in their driver hand book. Look on page 48.

Maryland
Drivers under 18 with a restricted license may not use a cell phone while driving. This includes hands-free cell phone use. http://www.marylandmva.com/DriverServ/ROOKIEDRIVER/bgenerallearners.htm No other laws have been passed yet regarding cellular phone driving restrictions. Although they do mention avoiding cellular phone use in their driver hand book. Look on page 14, 22 and 24.

Michigan
No laws have been passed yet regarding cellular phone driving restrictions. http://www.michigan.gov/documents/ROAD_SKILLS_TEST_STUDY_GUIDE_05-02_21935_7.pdf

Minnesota
It is illegal for drivers under age 18 to use a cellular/wireless phone, whether hand-held or hands-free except to call 911 in an emergency. A new law has made it illegal for drivers of all ages to compose, read, or send text messages or access the internet on a wireless device while on the road.
http://www.dps.state.mn.us/ots/teens/Minn_NewTeenDriver_Laws.pdf
No other laws have been passed yet regarding cellular phone driving restrictions.
http://www.dps.state.mn.us/dvs/DLTraining/DLManual/DLManual.htm

Mississippi
Has preemption laws that prevent local jurisdictions from restricting cell phone use in cars. There isn't an online handbook at this time.

Montana
No laws have been passed yet regarding cellular phone driving restrictions. Although they do mention avoiding cellular phone use in their driver hand book.
Look on page 51.

Nebraska
The holder of an LPE, SCP, LPD or POP shall not use any type of interactive wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle. Interactive wireless communication device means any wireless electronic communication between two or more parties, including, but not limited to, a mobile or cellular phone, a text messaging device, a personal digital assistant that sends or receives messages, an audio-video player that sends or receives messages, or a laptop computer.
http://www.dmv.state.ne.us/examining/overview.html
No laws have been passed yet regarding cellular phone driving restrictions. Although they do mention avoiding cellular phone use in their driver hand book. Look on page 6 and 53.

Nevada
Nevada has preemption laws that prevent local jurisdictions from restricting cell phone use in cars. Cellular phone usage during a drive test will result in automatic failure. Cyclists Wear a headset (headphones, cellular phone ear piece, etc.) when riding. Look on page 8 and 50.

New Hampshire
State laws fall under a more comprehensive distracted driving law where drivers can be pulled over and ticketed for driving distracted which can include cell phone use. Their laws dont make a distinction between talking on a cell phone in ones hand or using a hands-free cell phone accessory such as a car-kit or a cell phone headset. Look on page 52.

New Jersey
School bus drivers can't use cell phones while they're driving school buses; this includes the use of hands-free cell phone accessories. For regular vehicles, cell phone use while the car is in motion is not permitted unless one is using hands-free cell phone accessories. Drivers under 21 are not allowed to use cell phones while driving, hands-free or not. http://www.state.nj.us/mvc/manuals/chap_04_16.html

New Mexico
There are no state wide restrictions on cell phone use in cars. There are local laws restricting cell phone use in cars. Hands-free cell phone accessories must be used while driving a car within Santa Fe. Car kits and headsets for your cell phone will let city residents use their cell phones legally while driving. Look on page 29.

New York
Hands free cell phone accessories must be used while driving. This includes mobile and factory installed car kits as well as headsets. In NY City, taxicab drivers cant use cell phones at all while on the job. http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/dmanual/chapter08-manual.htm#use-cel

Ohio
Hands free cell phone accessories must be used while driving in Brooklyn, Ohio. Using a headset or a car-kit would keep you legal in this case. For the rest of Ohio, there are no restrictions on the use of cell phones in moving vehicles. Although they do mention avoiding cellular phone use in their driver hand book. Look on page 11.

Oklahoma
The state has preemption laws that prevent local jurisdictions from imposing cell phone use in vehicles. State law requires drivers to devote full time and attention to driving. You may be ticketed if involved in an accident while using a cellular phone. Look on page 12-3.

Oregon
The state has preemption laws that prevent local jurisdictions from imposing cell phone use in vehicles. http://www.odot.state.or.us/forms/dmv/37.pdf

Pennsylvania
No laws have been passed yet regarding cellular phone driving restrictions. Although they do mention avoiding cellular phone use in their driver hand book.
Look on page 24.
Tips for Teens

Rhode Island
School bus drivers cant use cell phones while they're driving school buses, even with hands-free cell phone accessories like a Bluetooth headset. There isn't an online handbook at this time.

Tennessee
School bus drivers cant use cell phones while theyre driving school buses, even with hands-free cell phone accessories. Drivers with learner permits may not use a cell phone at all while driving. http://www.state.tn.us/safety/dlhandbook/DL_HandbookWeb2007.pdf

Texas
No laws have been passed yet regarding cellular phone driving restrictions.
http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/ftp/forms/DLhandbook.pdf

Utah
No laws have been passed yet regarding cellular phone driving restrictions.
http://driverlicense.utah.gov/pdf/2007%20Dl%20Handbook.pdf

Washington
Drivers cannot hold a wireless communications device to your ear while operating a motor vehicle unless you are: reporting illegal activity, summoning medical or other emergency help, preventing injury to a person or property, operating an authorized emergency vehicle, operating a tow truck responding to a disabled vehicle, operating an amateur radio station under a Federal Communications Commission license, or using a hearing aid. Look on page 50.




Proposed Laws

Although currently, we have limited laws in effect regulating cell phone use in cars, this may not be the case after this years legislatures meet. The following information was found on the National Conference of State Legislatures website. There, they maintain a state legislation database on driver focus and technology. Thirty eight states currently have bills which are actively being pushed through their legislatures. These bills include language such as:

  • Drivers under a set age (usually 21, 18, 17, etc.) or with a learners permit may not use a cell phone while driving a car. This includes the use of cell phones with hands-free technology such as an installed car-kit or a wireless headset. In this case, when shopping for a car, you might still want to get a car-kit for your cell phone since the prohibition will be removed once the driver reaches a certain age or gets a regular license.
  • Prohibits the use of hand-held phones while driving (mostly in motor vehicles but at least one states laws mentions motorcycles), except for the case of an emergency. In this case, you can use a cell phone with hands-free accessories such as a cell phone headset or a cell phone car-kit that keeps your hands free while driving.
  • Prohibits the use of cell phones while driving, without any latitude for hands-free use with cell phone accessories such as cell phone headsets or cell phone car kits.
  • Prohibits dialing a cell phone while driving. In this case, besides a hands-free accessory such as a headset or having a car-kit, you'll need a cell phone that supports voice activation.
  • Prohibits the use of a cell phone in a school zone.
  • Prohibits the use of cell phones and headsets that cover both ears while driving or bicycling. In this case you can use a headset, but you're going to need one that doesnt cover both ears. There are a number of Bluetooth headsets which wrap over just one ear which would fit the legal requirements for this law.
  • Prohibits certain types of drivers from using cell phones: school bus drivers, large truck drivers, taxi car drivers. In this case, having cell phone accessories like a car-kit or a headset in the vehicle wont let you legally make cell phone calls while the vehicle is in motion.


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LA Wireless, Inc. is not responsible for any "wrong" or "out-dated information". Please check with your local DMV for more information regarding Cellular Phone Driving Laws.