Laws About Driving While Talking on a Cell Phone

Keep your eyes on the road, maintain focus while driving and always keep your hands on the steering wheel. These are three rules that every department of motor vehicles (DMV) across the United States expect drivers to follow. Cell phones, according to the California DMV, "cause distracted driving and lead to vehicle crashes." These distractions led many state legislatures to limit the use of phones while driving. The laws governing cell phone use vary from state to state but each maintain a similar principle: keeping drivers aware if they do decide to talk on their cell phones.

  1. Hands-Free Laws

    • Hands-free laws stipulates that drivers cannot talk on their cell phones without the use of a Bluetooth device. As the California State legislature stated, "A person shall not drive while using a cell phone unless that phone is configured to allow a hands-free device." As of 2010, the State of New York stipulated "a maximum fine of $100" for using a cell phone without a Bluetooth, while California's fine is "$20 for a first offense and $50 for a second offense."

    Drivers Younger than 18

    • Some states prohibit drivers ages 18 years and younger from using any kind of cell phone or wireless technology while driving. Virginia "restricts a driver under [the] age of 18 from using any cell phone or wireless device." Drivers under 18 can only use a cell phone while the car is parked or for emergency purposes.

    Emergency Cell Phone Use

    • Cell phones can be operated while driving if you are experiencing an emergency of some kind. Cell phones may be used without a hands-free device. The states of Virginia, New York and California stipulate that a person may use a cell phone for emergency purposes.


    • Not all states have statewide laws regulating cell phone use. As of 2010, Ohio allows localities to create laws that drivers must follow, according to

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  • Photo Credit cell phone image by Marek Kosmal from

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