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Cell Phone Use and Texting While Driving Laws by State

Author: XpertHR Editorial Team

Virtually every state has enacted a distracted driving law restricting the use of a cell phone while driving. These laws affect employees, workplace policies and business operations. Employers with employees who are likely to use a cell phone while driving for work-related purposes will limit potential liability and promote employee safety by being aware of and educating employees about these state laws and ensuring that all workplace policies and practices are compliant.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has indicated that it is an employer's responsibility and legal obligation to have a clear, unequivocal and enforced policy against texting while driving. OSHA fines employers that appear to encourage their employees to use cell phones while driving contrary to the law.

The distracted driving laws vary from state to state. For example, some states ban the use of handheld cell phones to talk and text while driving, while others only prohibit drivers from texting. Other states specifically allow the use of a cell phone in hands-free mode.

The following chart indicates the state laws that ban the use of handheld cell phones to talk or text while driving. Some states may have laws specifically addressing the use of cell phones by novice (e.g., minors), bus or commercial drivers that are not included in this chart. Some states may also have local laws that impose additional restrictions that are not included on this chart.

Table cells are marked "No" where the statutes or regulations are silent, or where they do not restrict the use of a cell phone while driving.

The chart also provides links to any state employee handbook statements that relate to cell phone use and texting while driving.