Preventing Distracted Driving: Texting and Cell Phone Usage Laws by State - Personal Injury Lawyer | Cooper and Friedman

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Preventing Distracted Driving: Texting and Cell Phone Usage Laws by State

Written by Cooper & Friedman PLLC on April 21, 2022
Distracted Driving Laws vary from state to state

There is widespread agreement that cell phone usage can be extremely distracting while operating a motor vehicle. According to the United States Department of Transportation (NHTSA), over 3,100 Americans died due to accidents involving distracted driving in 2020. Many expect these numbers to continue to climb. 

Distracted driving is defined as any type of activity that draws attention away from the demands of operating a motor vehicle including eating food, drinking a beverage, putting on make-up, texting, reaching for a bag, changing a radio station, and talking or texting on a phone. 

Arguably nothing may be quite as distracting to a driver than texting, where a person’s eyes are diverted for seconds or longer away from the road to a mobile device. Recognizing the very real dangers of texting and driving, states have implemented a variety of laws to increase safety. The state of Washington passed the first statewide ban on texting in 2007. Almost every U.S. state now has some type of ban on text messaging for drivers. Additionally, as reported by Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), 37 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) ban all cellphone use for drivers considered novice, and 23 states and D.C. ban cell phone usage for school bus drivers. Additionally, 24 states and D.C. prohibit any driver of a motor vehicle from using a handheld cell phone while operating the vehicle. 

Interestingly, the laws around texting and driving vary significantly state by state. Follow along for a better understanding of how different states handle driving and texting.

  • Some states ban the use of cell phones while driving for people of certain ages. For example, beginner drivers ages 16 or 17 with less than 6 months of experience are not allowed to use cell phones while operating a motor vehicle in the state of Alabama.
  • Some states ban using hand-held cell phones while operating a vehicle including Arizona and California.
  • In comparison, Arkansas bans the use of hand-held devices while operating a motor vehicle only in zones that are deemed work or school. 
  • Some states ban the use of cell phones by school bus drivers including Arizona, Arkansas and California.

As car accident attorneys serving people across the state of Kentucky, we follow these laws very closely. 

While the state of Kentucky bans the use of cell phones for school bus drivers, this same law does not exist in Indiana or Ohio. Novice drivers under the age of 21 are not allowed to operate a cell phone while driving a motor vehicle in the state of Indiana. Kentucky has a similar law but limits it to drivers under the age of 18. Text messaging is banned for all drivers in both Kentucky and Indiana. 

As stated in the 2020-24 Strategic Highway Safety Plan, between 2014 and 2018, 843 of the 3,733 fatalities on Kentucky highways involved some type of distracted driving incidents. Further as reported by the Insurance Institute of Kentucky, in January 2022 the Mason-Dixon poll found that 86% of Kentuckians agree that compared to five years ago, drivers face even more distractions.

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and as part of this focus, the Kentucky State Police are planning to conduct traffic stops targeting distracted drivers. The public awareness campaign in Kentucky revolves around the “buck up and put the phone down” theme. For more information including specific campaigns, see the Kentucky government’s highway safety website. 

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a car accident in the state of Kentucky, the experienced car accident attorneys at Cooper & Friedman PLLC are here to help. We have been fighting for the rights of car accident victims across the state since 1991 and we are ready to fight for you. All of the lawyers at Cooper & Friedman PLLC have achieved Super Lawyer & Rising Star Status which less than 5% of attorneys in Kentucky qualify for. Get additional information or schedule a free case consultation with an attorney by calling: 502-459-7555 today.

Posted Under: Car Accidents, Personal Injury

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