Texting and Driving Accidents, Laws and Facts

Texting and Driving Accidents

Distracted driving facts from every state

What are the statistics on distracted driving and car crashes? Get the facts on texting and driving accidents. If you want to know how much likelier a distracted driver is to cause a car accident, you’ve come to the right place. Bonus: learn what drivers can do to keep the roads safe and see the laws on distracted driving for your state.

Fact: In 2015, 10% of fatal car crashes and 15% of injurious car crashes were caused by distracted driving.

Teens are in a class of their own, with distracted driving accidents among their age group hovering at an astonishing 58%. This phenomenon occurs whenever a driver attempts to multitask (a skill at which all of us are, sadly, extremely terrible). Eating, putting on makeup, texting or even just talking can prove to be deadly distractions.

The facts say that a distracted driver is 5.36 times likelier to cause a car crash than if he were focused on the road. In terms of impairment, distracted drivers and intoxicated drivers share similar capability.

Distracted drivers are 5.36 times likelier to cause car crashes. Tweet this

In other words, focus on the road, people.

State laws on cell phone use while driving

Sixteen states, Puerto Rico, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam have a hand-held ban on cell phones. Forty-seven states, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico also ban text messaging while driving. While no states ban all cell phone use, 38 states and D.C. do prohibit use by novice or teenage drivers. Twenty-one states and D.C. also prohibit cell phone use by school bus drivers.

Enjuris tip: Even though a headset is hands-free, not every state allows drivers to use them. Is your state one of them?

Each state is different, and these technologically-based laws are changing every year. Make sure to know the laws in your particular state. This will help you stay safe while driving and avoid getting ticketed.

Texting and Driving Laws in Your State

Primary law: officers can pull over and ticket without seeing another violation.
Secondary law: officers must witness a primary violation and then ticket for secondary.

Alabama

Texting and driving is illegal (primary). Drivers under 17 who have not had their license for at least six months cannot use a cell phone while operating a vehicle (primary)

Alaska

Texting and driving is illegal (primary)

Arizona

School bus drivers cannot use a cell phone while operating a school bus (primary). Texting and driving is illegal in Phoenix (primary)

Arkansas

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); novice drivers cannot use cell phones (secondary); hand-held devices not permitted except during emergencies for 18-20 year olds (primary); school bus drivers cannot use cell phones while operating school bus (primary)

California

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); Hand-held devices illegal (primary); school bus drivers (primary) and drivers under 18 (secondary) cannot use cell phones while operating vehicle

Colorado

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); drivers under 18 cannot use cell phones while driving except for emergencies (primary)

Connecticut

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); Hand-held devices illegal (primary); school bus drivers and drivers under 18 cannot use cell phones while driving except for emergencies (primary)

Delaware

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); Hand-held devices are illegal (primary); school bus drivers and drivers with Learner or Intermediate License cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle (primary)

DC

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); Hand-held devices are illegal (primary); school bus drivers and drivers with learner's permits cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle (primary)

Florida

Texting and driving is illegal (secondary)

Georgia

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); school bus drivers and drivers under 18 cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle (primary)

Guam

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); Hand-held devices illegal (primary)

Hawaii

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); Hand-held devices illegal (primary); drivers under 18 cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle (primary)

Idaho

Texting and driving is illegal (primary)

Illinois

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); Hand-held devices illegal (primary); school bus drivers and drivers 19 and under cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle (primary)

Indiana

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); drivers 21 and under cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle (primary)

Iowa

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); drivers with restricted or intermediate licenses cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle (primary)

Kansas

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); drivers with learner's permits or graduated licenses cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle (primary)

Kentucky

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); school bus drivers and drivers under 18 cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle (primary)

Louisiana

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); school bus drivers and drivers under 18 or those who've had license for less than one year cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle (primary); those with intermediate licenses or learner's permits cannot use hand-held devices (primary)

Maine

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); drivers under 18 cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle (primary)

Maryland

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); handheld mobile devices while driving is illegal (primary); drivers under 18 cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle (primary)

Massachusetts

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); school bus drivers and drivers under 18 cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle (primary)

Michigan

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); school bus drivers and drivers with levels 1 or 2 Graduated Driver's Licenses cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle (primary)

Minnesota

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); school bus drivers, drivers under 18 and drivers with Learner or Provisional License cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle (primary)

Mississippi

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); school bus drivers cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle (primary)

Missouri

Texting and driving is illegal for those 21 and younger (primary)

Montana

Texting and driving is illegal in certain cities

Nebraska

Texting and driving is illegal (secondary); drivers under 18 with Learner or Intermediate License cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle (secondary)

Nevada

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); the use of hand-held devices while driving is illegal (primary)

New Hampshire

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); the use of hand-held devices while driving is illegal (primary); drivers under 18 cannot use cell phones while driving (even hands-free) (primary)

New Jersey

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); the use of hand-held devices while driving is illegal (primary); school bus drivers and drivers with a Permit or Provisional License cannot use cell phones while driving (even hands-free) (primary)

New Mexico

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); the use of hand-held devices while driving is illegal for in state vehicles (primary); drivers with Learner or Provisional Permit cannot use cell phones while driving (primary)

New York

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); the use of hand-held devices while driving is illegal (primary)

North Carolina

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); school bus drivers and drivers under 18 cannot use a cell phone while driving (primary)

North Dakota

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); drivers under 18 cannot use cell phones while driving (primary)

Ohio

Texting and driving is illegal (secondary); drivers under 18 cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle (primary)

Oklahoma

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); drivers with learner's permits or intermediate licenses cannot use hand-held devices while operating a vehicle (primary)

Oregon

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); the use of hand-held devices while driving is illegal (primary); drivers under 18 cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle (primary)

Pennsylvania

Texting and driving is illegal (primary)

Puerto Rico

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); the use of hand-held devices while driving is illegal (primary)

Rhode Island

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); the use of hand-held devices while driving is illegal (primary); school bus drivers and drivers under 18 cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle (primary)

South Carolina

Texting and driving is illegal (primary)

South Dakota

Texting and driving is illegal (secondary); drivers with learner's permit or intermediate license cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle (secondary)

Tennessee

Texting and driving is illegal while vehicle is in motion (primary); school bus drivers and drivers with learner's permit or intermediate driver's license cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle; use of hand-held devices is illegal in school zone when lights are flashing (primary)

Texas

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); school bus drivers with passengers under 17 and drivers with learner's permit cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle (primary)

Utah

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); school bus drivers and drivers under 18 cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle (primary)

Vermont

Texting and driving is illegal; hand-held devices are illegal while driving (primary); drivers under 18 cannot use wireless devices while operating a vehicle (primary)

Virgin Islands

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); hand-held devices are illegal while driving (primary)

Virginia

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); school bus drivers (primary) and drivers under 18 (secondary) cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle

Washington

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); the use of hand-held devices while driving is illegal (primary); drivers with a learner's permit or an intermediate driver's license cannot use cell phones while operating a vehicle (primary)

West Virginia

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); the use of hand-held devices while driving is illegal (primary); drivers under 18 with a learner's permit or intermediate driver's license cannot use a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle (primary)

Wisconsin

Texting and driving is illegal (primary); drivers with a learner's permit or intermediate driver's license cannot use cell phone while driving (primary)

Wyoming

Texting and driving is illegal (primary)


States focusing on distracted driving

Many states are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to distracted driving. There was a crackdown by six states in the Northeast (Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana, Pennsylvania and West Virginia).

The Texas Department of Transportation also has an intense statewide campaign called Talk, Text, Crash. With one in five drivers getting into accidents because of distractions (a statistic that has not changed in three years), the state is doing its best to combat this epidemic.

Even if it’s legal for drivers to use cell phones while driving in your state, keep in mind that this compromises safety and could make you liable for damages in the event of a car accident.

Texting shifts responsibility - to you

Is a two-second SMH text (“shaking my head”) worth paying thousands in damages? Distractions can make you liable for a car accident, even if the crash was also the other driver’s fault. Your phone records could be subpoenaed to determine if you were texting or talking while the accident occurred.

Enjuris tip: Your phone records could be subpoenaed to determine if you were texting or talking while a car accident occurred
Consider this distracted driving fact: If you drive at 55 miles per hour and send a text that takes 4.6 seconds, the distance your car traveled is the length of a football field. That is the equivalent of driving blind across a football field.

You know what else takes 4.6 seconds? Getting into a car crash.

How to avoid texting and driving accidents

The simplest way to solve the texting and driving problem? Don’t text and drive. Apple’s new updates for iPhones include a new driver safety feature that senses when the car is in motion and blocks text messages. There is also an option to say “I’m not driving” (i.e., I’m a passenger).

If you believe that a life-or-death text message must be sent or received while you are en route to another destination, pull over and stop the car. Answer the text and then get back on the road.

You could even turn off the phone while driving, or at least keep it on silent. Put it where you can’t see it or hear a notification.

Headsets, while not legal in every state, can also assist in preventing accidents caused by using a cell phone while operating a vehicle. Be proactive with your own safety and know that you are responsible for your actions.

Don’t text and drive!

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