Texting-While-Driving Laws

You have probably heard plenty about all of the bans on texting and driving. It has become one of the most dangerous activities behind the wheel, and the rise of smartphones has made it so common that laws had to be put in place to prevent it. However, did you know that there are also a number of states that take it one step further and won't even allow you to talk on your handheld cellphone while you're driving?

The States

States with this type of restriction in place are, in alphabetical order, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Washington, and West Virginia. Talking on the phone while driving is also illegal in Washington, D.C. and some of the territories connected to the United States, like Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This information has drawn such attention lately that the U.S. government created an entire website focused on distracted driving.

Novice Drivers

It's also worth noting that the laws do change in some places depending on your age. For novice drivers, a lot of states have banned all cellphone use -- talking, texting, browsing the web, and the like -- even though they don't ban talking for adult drivers. For example, a novice ban on handheld use is in place in Virginia, and it applies to all drivers who are under 18. The same is true in Vermont. Texas also has a ban, categorically, on novice drivers using cellphones, but the state doesn't define a novice by age. Instead, the ban is in place for any driver, at any age, who has had his or her license for under 12 months.

In-State Laws

These laws show why it's so important to know the laws in your specific state. Drivers from places without a ban could be ticketed if driving, unknowingly, into a state with a ban. Perhaps recognizing this, New Mexico has a ban on handheld cellphone use for in-state drivers only.

After an Accident

If you were hit by a driver who was breaking a cellphone restriction law, got distracted, and caused the wreck, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries. It's critical to know the laws in your state and how tickets given out after an accident can help establish fault.