Georgia in July became the 16th state to enact a hands-free cellphone law, making it illegal to hold your phone while driving, in a move meant to put some teeth into its existing driver texting ban. in 2010, Georgia banned texting and driving, but motorists were still allowed to use their hands to dial, which critics say made the law hard to enforce.

Georgia's recent legislation comes at a time when distracted driving is a major issue out on the roads. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) there were 3,450 deaths related to distracted driving in 2016. An additional 391,000 were injured due to distracted driving.

Laws regarding distracted driving vary by state. While the majority of states, 47 plus D.C., have laws in place that ban texting and driving, many states still allow drivers to talk on a phone behind the wheel. Most states also have different laws that pertain to young and inexperienced drivers.

Distracted driving laws can be complicated and if you receive a ticket for texting or talking behind the wheel it can impact your insurance rates. Many drivers are unaware of what exactly is legal in their own state when it comes to talking, texting and driving.

We compiled the lists below to show what the law is in each state as well as the fine you can expect if you are pulled over with a phone in your hand.

Will a Cellphone Ticket Raise My Car Insurance Rates?

A texting ticket will raise your rates, on average, by 24 percent, according to a rate analysis showing how much insurance goes up for a texting ticket by, though it could be as low as four percent or as high as 30 percent, depending on your state laws and driving record, among other factors.

"If the infraction goes on your driving record, assume you can get surcharged by insurers, raising your premium," warns Penny Gusner, consumer analyst for "Insurers check your driving record when writing new policies, and typically every six months upon renewal, and will factor in any driving infractions using their own point system," she continues.

The rate hike will vary by insurer, but in the majority of cases it would be treated as a minor violation such as a low-level speeding ticket or running a red light. "Normally a rate increase will be the same as any other first infraction," says Gusner.

If you experience a sharp rate increase after a cellphone ticket, you may want to compare car insurance rates from other insurers. You'll probably find that some insurers are more forgiving than others when you shop around, she says.

Cellphone Bans and License Points by State

State Texting Ban Talking Ban License points?
AlabamaYesNo2 Points on License
ArkansasYesSchool or Construction ZonesNo
ColoradoYesNo4 Points
FloridaYesNo3 Points for Second Offense, 2 more Points for School Zone, 6 for Accident
GeorgiaYesYes1 Points
KentuckyYesNo3 Points
MarylandYesYes1 Point & 3 if Accident
NebraskaYesNo3 Points
NevadaYesYes4 Points for Second Offense
New HampshireYesYesNo
New JerseyYesYes3 points for Third Offense
New MexicoYesNoNo
New YorkYesYes5 Points
North CarolinaYesNoNo
North DakotaYesNoNo
Rhode IslandYesYesNo
South CarolinaYesNoNo
South DakotaYesNoNo
VermontYesYes4 points for school construction zones, 5 points for second offense
VirginiaYesNo3 points
West VirginiaYesYes3 points for Third Offense
WisconsinYesNo4 points

How Many States Ban Texting and Driving?

Laws regarding cellphone use and texting vary dramatically across the country and they can be confusing. In some states there are certain cities that have stricter laws on the books than the state law, making knowing where you can and cannot use your phone a bit of a mystery.

As it stands right now, in 47 states plus Washington D.C. it is illegal to text while driving. In the majority of states it is a primary law but there are a few outliers where texting and driving is only a secondary law.

If the law is primary it means that a police officer can pull a driver over and issue a ticket for using a cellphone while driving. The officer does not need any other reason to pull you over, other than the cellphone violation.

If the law is secondary, the police must pull a driver over for a different primary violation, as an example speeding or reckless driving. They then have the right to issue a ticket for a cellphone violation in addition to the primary offense. They cannot pull you over for a cellphone violation on its own if the law is secondary.

In order to add one more layer of confusion, many states have separate restrictions that only apply to younger, inexperienced drivers.

Driver Texting and Cellphone Ticket Penalties by State

The penalties for talking and texting on a cellphone can vary dramatically between states. At one point, texting while driving in Alaska was a misdemeanor, punishable by a year in jail and a $10,000 fine for a first offender. Luckily, the fine has been scaled back in recent years and now tops out at $500 in the Last Frontier.

While Alaska's fine was a bit over the top, texting or talking while driving can still be an expensive ticket in certain states. A first ticket in Oregon can result in a $1,000 ticket, which goes up to $2,500 for a second offense.

On the other end of the spectrum, in Wisconsin a texting while driving ticket is a measly $20. In the majority of states, fines run between $50 and $200.

State Penalty for Talking Penalty for Texting Points on License
AlabamaNot Illegal$25 First Offense2 points
AlaskaNot IllegalUp to $500No Points
ArizonaNot IllegalNot IllegalNo Points
ArkansasOnly Illegal in School or Construction ZonesUp to $100No Points
California$20 First Offense, $50 for Additional Ones$20 First Offense, $50 for Additional OnesNo Points
ColoradoNot Illegal$3004 Points
Connecticut$150 First Offense, $300 for Second, $500 for Third or More$150 First Offense, $300 for Second, $500 for Third or MoreNo Points
Delaware$100 First Offense, up to $300 for Second or More$100 First Offense, up to $300 for Second or MoreNo Points
Washington D.C.$100$100No Points
FloridaNot Illegal$303 Points for Second Offense, 2 more Points for School Zone, 6 for Accident
Georgia$50 First Offense, $100 Second, $150 Third$301 Points
Hawaii$250 First Offense, $300 if in School or Construction Zone$250 First Offense, $300 if in School or Construction ZoneNo Points
IdahoNot Illegal$81.50No Points
Illinois$75 First Offense, $100 Second, $125 Third$75 First Offense, $100 Second, $125 ThirdNo Points
IndianaNot IllegalUp to $500No Points
IowaNot Illegal$30 - Court costs push it up to $100No Points
KansasNot Illegal$60No Points
KentuckyNot Illegal$25 First Offense, $50 each additional3 Points
LouisianaNot Illegal$500 First Offense, $1,000 each additionalNo Points
MaineNot Illegal$250 First Offense, up to $500 each additionalNo Points
Maryland$75 First Offense, $125 Second, $175 Third$5001 point; 3 if an accident
MassachusettsNot Illegal$100 First Offense, $250 Second, $500 ThirdNo Points
MichiganNot Illegal$100 First Offense, $200 Second and MoreNo Points
MinnesotaNot Illegal$50 First Offense, $225 Second and MoreNo Points
MississippiNot Illegal$100No Points
MissouriNot IllegalNot IllegalNo Points
MontanaNot IllegalNot IllegalNo Points
NebraskaNot Illegal$200 First Offense, $300 Second, $500 Third and More3 Points
Nevada$50 First Offense, $100 Second, $250 Third and More$50 First Offense, $100 Second, $250 Third and More4 Points for Second offense or More
New Hampshire$100 First Offense, $250 Second, $500 Third or More$100 First Offense, $250 Second, $500 Third or MoreNo Points
New Jersey$200-$400 First Offense, $400-$600 Second, $600-$800 Third or More: $200-$400 First Offense, $400-$600 Second, $600-$800 Third or More3 Points for Third offense or More
New MexicoNot Illegal$25 First Offense, $50 SecondNo Points
New YorkUp to $200 First Offense, Up to $250 Second, Up to $450 ThirdUp to $200 First Offense, Up to $250 Second, Up to $450 Third5 Points
North CarolinaNot Illegal$100No Points
North DakotaNot Illegal$100No Points
OhioNot IllegalUp to $150No Points
OklahomaNot Illegal$100No Points
OregonUp to $1,000 First Offense, Up to $2,500 Second, Up to $2,500 and 6 Months in Jail Third and MoreUp to $1,000 First Offense, Up to $2,500 Second, Up to $2,500 and 6 Months in Jail Third and MoreNo Points
PennsylvaniaNot Illegal$50No Points
Rhode Island$100$100No Points
South CarolinaNot Illegal$25No Points
South DakotaNot Illegal$100No Points
TennesseeNot Illegal$50No Points
TexasNot IllegalUp to $99 First Offense, Up to $200 SecondNo Points
UtahNot IllegalUp to $750 First OffenseNo Points
VermontUp to $200 First Offense, up to $500 SecondUp to $200 First Offense, up to $500 SecondNo
VirginiaNot Illegal$125 First Offense, $250 Second3 Points
Washington$136 First Offense $234 Second$136 First Offense $234 SecondNo Points
West Virginia$100 First Offense $200 Second, $300 Third$100 First Offense $200 Second, $300 Third3 Points for the Third offense
WisconsinNot IllegalUp to $4004 Points
WyomingNot Illegal$75No Points

Note : *Arizona Teens are banned from using cell phones until have a graduated license or reach 18 First Offense is $75 and restrictions on their license for 30 days. Second violation results in a $100 fine and restriction on their license for 60 days

States with all cellphone ban for novice drivers

Teen and novice drivers face strict cellphone restrictions in many states but the laws can vary dramatically. Some states ban cellphone use outright for anyone under the age of 18 while others only ban cellphones for drivers with a learner's permit and still others put no restrictions at all on novice drivers when it comes to using a cellphone.

Total Cellphone Ban for Drivers Under 18-21:

  • Arkansas: Secondary
  • California: Secondary
  • Colorado: Primary
  • Connecticut: Primary
  • Georgia: Primary
  • Hawaii: Primary
  • Illinois: Primary - Anyone under 19
  • Indiana: Primary - Anyone under 21
  • Kansas: Primary
  • Kentucky: Primary
  • Louisiana: Primary
  • Maine: Primary
  • Maryland: Primary
  • Massachusetts: Primary
  • Minnesota: Primary
  • Missouri: Primary
  • Nebraska: Secondary
  • New Hampshire: Primary
  • New York: Primary
  • North Carolina: Primary
  • North Dakota: Primary
  • Ohio: Primary
  • Oregon: Primary
  • Rhode Island: Primary
  • Texas: Primary
  • Utah: Primary
  • Vermont: Primary
  • Virginia: Secondary
  • West Virginia: Primary

The following states have other restrictions in place related to young or novice drivers and some states have no restrictions at all when it comes to young drivers:

States have Other Restrictions Related to Young or Novice Drivers:

  • Alabama: Cellphone ban for 16 and 17 year olds with less than 6 months experience - Primary
  • Alaska: No restrictions
  • Arizona: Prohibits the use of cellphones while driving for the first six months after receiving a graduated license or until the age of 18 - Secondary
  • Delaware: Cellphone ban for drivers with intermediate licenses and learner's permits - Primary
  • Washington DC: Cellphone ban for drivers on learner permit - Primary
  • Florida: No restrictions
  • Idaho: No restrictions
  • Iowa: Cellphone ban for drivers that have their intermediate license or learner's permit - Primary
  • Michigan: Cellphone ban for drivers with Level 1 or 2 License
  • Mississippi: No restrictions
  • Montana: No restrictions
  • New Jersey: Cellphone ban for drivers with an intermediate license or a learner's permit - Primary
  • New Mexico: Cellphone ban for drivers with a learner or provisional license
  • Oklahoma: Cellphone ban for drivers with an intermediate license or a learner's permit: Primary
  • Pennsylvania: No restrictions
  • South Carolina: No restrictions
  • South Dakota: Cellphone ban for drivers with a learner or intermediate license
  • Tennessee: Cellphone ban for drivers on learner or intermediate license - Primary
  • Washington: Cellphone ban for drivers who have an intermediate license or learner's permit - Primary
  • Wisconsin: Cellphone ban for drivers with an intermediate license or a learner's permit - Primary
  • Wyoming: No restrictions