While legislators at the state, federal and local levels investigate a variety of issues related to driver distraction, the most common concern is the potential distraction caused by cell phones and other technology in the car. More than 220 million people in the U.S. subscribe to wireless services, and it is estimated that up to 80% of these subscribers use their phones while driving. Mitchel Kiefer of Northville was on his way home at Michigan State University on Interstate 96 in Ingham County in September 2016 when a woman driving at more than 80 miles an hour and distracted by her phone hit him. He was pushed across the median strip into oncoming traffic, where he was immediately struck and killed. Steven Kiefer founded the Kiefer Foundation to combat distracted driving in Michigan and other states. This law prohibits drivers from using a mobile phone or autonomous electronic device while driving, unless it is used hands-free. These include mobile phones, tablets, music, and gaming devices. Click on the graphic below to view interactive graphs of mobile phone and SMS usage during driving laws. You can search by lock status and lock type (main categories and subcategories). Because distracting behaviors with a phone like dialing, talking, or texting are so dangerous (it increases the risk of having a triple accident), the California Bureau of Highway Traffic Safety has launched the “Put down your phone. Just Drive” public awareness and education campaign.
Like the “Silence the Distraction” campaign launched in 2015, it aims to appeal to smartphone culture and younger target groups, especially 16-24 year olds. The youngest and most inexperienced drivers are most at risk when driving distracted. The campaign emphasizes that all the functions of a phone can be distracting: using an app, browsing music or playing videos, looking at social media, maps or photos. They are all dangerous and illegal when driving, and the safest thing drivers can do is put the phone away and drive. In Arizona, it`s illegal to talk or text on a cell phone while driving, unless the device is hands-free. Footnote 5 In Louisiana, all learning permit holders, regardless of age, and all intermediate driver`s license holders are prohibited from driving with a cell phone. All drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using their mobile phones. All drivers, regardless of age, who have issued a first driving licence are prohibited from using a mobile phone for one year. The ban on mobile telephony is of secondary importance for novice drivers aged 18 and over. ↩ Preemption laws: Some states have preemption laws that prohibit local jurisdictions from issuing their own driving bans for distraction. States with such laws include Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Oregon and South Carolina.
A PDF table of the state`s distracted driving laws is available for download here. Using your mobile phone while driving is not only dangerous, but also illegal. In California, you can`t use a cell phone or similar electronic communication device while holding it in your hand. You can only use it hands-free, such as with a speaker or voice commands, but never while holding it. It is forbidden for any driver under the age of 18 to use a mobile phone for any reason. Distracted driving is a major public health and safety issue, especially since the proliferation of new communication technologies increases the risk of distracted driving. Texting and driving have been banned in Michigan since 2010. In 2013, Kelsey`s Law banned new drivers with Level 1 or Level 2 driver`s licenses from driving on a cell phone. The law was passed after Kelsey Raffaele, 17, of Sault Ste. Marie, died in a 2010 crash while talking and driving with her phone. Footnote 6 In Ohio, if a person commits a particular movement violation while “distracted” and distraction activity is a contributing factor to the violation, the person will be subject to a fine of $100 plus an applicable penalty for the underlying violation as of October 29, 2018. ↩ Footnote 2 In California, it is prohibited to drive a motor vehicle when holding and using a telephone or electronic communication device.
Drivers 18 years of age and older can dictate, send or listen to text messages when using voice-activated hands-free kits. ↩ Footnote 9 In 2007, Utah defined reckless driving as committing an offence (other than speeding) while being distracted by the use of a hand-held cell phone or other activities unrelated to driving. The IIHS said it was the functional equivalent of secondary legislation. In 2012, Utah`s law was amended to state that a person is not prohibited from using a wireless handheld device while driving a moving motor vehicle when making or receiving a phone call. In 2014, Utah again amended its law by removing the act of talking on the cell phone from the section describing reckless driving. In addition, the latest version prohibits drivers from dialing a mobile phone and limits the maximum penalty to $100 for a first offence, unless the offender has inflicted bodily harm. ↩ Additional information, programs and resources related to distracted driving: The House of Representatives voted 75-26 to pass the package`s main bill, which would ban the use of all mobile devices while driving, including mobile phones, laptops or tablets.