The Big Story Blog

How do states police distracted driving now?

Posted at 11:20 AM on December 14, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Transportation

States are all over the board when it comes to laws on distracted driving and how they're enforced.

When it comes to texting, they're fairly united: 35 states and the District of Columbia ban it while driving, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which has an easy-to-read chart breaking down state laws and rules.

On phone use, though, the picture is very mixed, which makes it difficult to believe that the National Transportation Safety Board's call for a 50-state ban on all electronic devices while driving will happen any time soon.

Here are the basics from the state legislatures site:

Ban on all hand held devices 9 states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Washington) and District of Columbia.

Cell phone ban. School Bus drivers: 19 states and District of Columbia; Teen drivers: 30 states and District of Columbia (In Minnesota: School bus drivers, learner's permit holders, and provisional license holders during the first 12 months after licensing.)

Several states make the cell phone ban a local option. Georgia prohibits talking on a cell phone while driving for those younger than 18. A similar ban starts next month in North Dakota.

Texting ban All Drivers: 35 states (including Minnesota) and District of Columbia.


About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.