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State Bans on Texting While Driving

Sending text messages while driving has been a controversial issue for several years and was brought back to the forefront with the recent trolley crash in Boston where the driver says he was texting his girlfriend at the time of the incident.

Looking down at a phone and typing out a message on tiny keys while operating an automobile is not illegal in every state.

Seven states and the District of Columbia currently prohibit sending text messages while operating a vehicle, but 43 other states don’t have any laws on the books.

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia prohibit school bus drivers from sending text messages when school children are present; the others don't have any laws or punishments concerning the issue.

New Jersey has a law pending in the General Assembly that would ban train and commuter bus operators from texting or sending e-mails messages.

Here is a list of the current laws that each state has on the books concerning text messages and cell phone calls while driving.

Alabama: No Laws

Alaska: Illegal for all drivers with the enforcement being primary, meaning that a police officer can pull over a driver for sending a text message even if he isn’t breaking any other traffic laws.

Arizona: Only bans school bus drivers from speaking on their cell phone

Arkansas: Illegal for all drivers with primary enforcement

California: Illegal for all drivers with primary enforcement

Colorado: No Laws

Connecticut: Illegal for all drivers with primary enforcement

Delaware: Illegal for novice drivers with a GDL to send texts or make phone calls with primary enforcement. Also illegal for school bus drivers to make phone calls.

D.C.: Illegal for all drivers with primary enforcement

Florida: No Laws

Georgia: Only bans school bus drivers from speaking on their cell phone

Hawaii: No Laws

Idaho: No Laws

Illinois: Only bans school bus drivers and those under 19 from speaking on their cell phone

Indiana: Only bans those under 18 from talking or texting on a cell phone

Iowa: No Laws

Kansas: Only bans those with a learners license from talking or texting on a cell phone

Kentucky: Only bans school bus drivers from speaking on their cell phone

Louisiana: Illegal for all drivers with secondary enforcement, meaning a driver can only be pulled over for a different traffic violation and then ticketed for cell phone usage

Maine: Only bans those under 18 from talking or texting on a cell phone

Maryland: Only bans those under 18 from talking or texting on a cell phone

Massachusetts: Only bans school bus drivers from speaking on their cell phone

Michigan: No Laws

Minnesota: Illegal for all drivers with primary enforcement

Mississippi: Only illegal for those with a learner's license to text while driving

Missouri: No Laws

Montana: No Laws

Nebraska: Illegal for all drivers with secondary enforcement

Nevada: No Laws

New Hampshire: No Laws

New Jersey: Illegal for all drivers with primary enforcement

New Mexico: No Laws

New York: Only bans school bus drivers from speaking on their cell phone

North Carolina: Only bans school bus drivers and those under 19 from speaking on their cell phone

North Dakota: No Laws

Ohio: No Laws

Oklahoma: No Laws

Oregon: Only illegal for those with a learner's license to text while driving

Pennsylvania: No Laws

Rhode Island: Only illegal for school bus drivers and those under 18 to talk on cell phones while driving

South Carolina: No Laws

South Dakota: No Laws

Tennessee: Only illegal for school bus drivers and those under 18 to talk on cell phones while driving

Texas: Only illegal for school bus drivers and those under 18 to talk or text on cell phones while driving

Utah: Illegal for all drivers with secondary enforcement

Vermont: No Laws

Virginia: Illegal for all drivers with secondary enforcement

Washington: Illegal for all drivers with secondary enforcement

West Virginia: Only illegal for those with a learner's license to talk or text on cell phones while driving

Wisconsin: No Laws

Wyoming: No Laws