As of this year, 46 states as well as Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have banned texting while behind the wheel. In an effort to deter distracted driving, almost all states have imposed fines if you get caught. While the fines in the majority of the states range around $100 for your first violation with increases for every subsequent violation, some individual states have taken it to themselves to impose harsher penalties. Here are a few noteworthy tips for when you are on your cross-country road trip.
States with Hefty Fines and Harsh Penalties
Though you can incur fines of upwards of $500 after multiple violations of distracted driving in all states, states like Oregon and Alaska will impose this fine on your first violation. It only goes up from there if you’re in Indiana or Louisiana where any subsequent violation results in a $1,000 fine and a 60-day suspension of your drivers license.
States without Texting Laws
As of July 2016, only Texas, Missouri, Arizona, and Montana have yet to sign into law any statewide bans on texting while driving. However just because they may not have statewide laws, many cities in these states will impose their own laws locally. For example, a texting while driving violation in Helena will result in a $105 fine. While in Texas, cities like Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, El Paso, Amarillo and Galveston can impose fines of up to $500.
Enforcement and Alternatives
In the past, distracted driving violations were enforced through secondary enforcement where an officer will need to cite you for another violation in addition to distracted driving. Such isn’t the case now where most states call for primary enforcement of these violations. As enforcement of cell phone laws and distracted driving laws are getting tougher, states such as California and Idaho are giving drivers a break in allowing drivers to send text messages while driving albeit with the use of hands free systems and with with voice commands, like what is found in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.