Hands free cell phone law
On this page: Hands free cell phone law , New 2008 cell phone laws , Cell phone law changes
Hands free cell phone laws
Hands free cell phone law and "hands-free" driving laws are aimed at safer driving while using a cell phone. The hands free cell phone laws require the use of a hands-free device so you don't have to hold the phone to your ear while driving; and they also make it illegal to hold the phone to your ear while driving.
For each State adopting a hands free law, the text of the law seems to spell out what a hands-free device is either by explicit statement or by inference. Generally, acceptable hands-free devices include wired earphone/microphone head sets (but not over-the-ear type), wireless headsets (such as a "Bluetooth" headset) and speakerphone features of a cellular phone or a separate "speakerphone" system. The individual State listings on this website also indicate which hands free device types are legal.
New 2008 cell phone laws
So far in 2008 we have found that these States (listed below) have adopted cell phone laws which are on-the-books and in effect regarding the use of cell phones while driving a vehicle on a public street, road or highway. (See also Cell Phone Law Changes for laws pending going into effect.) You can check our summary of your State's law regarding use of a cell phone while driving here and find info on fines and links to the text of the law. The name of a violation varies between State laws, as do fines.
Be aware that as additional States and Provinces adopt a cell phone driving law, the trend is to make it illegal for new drivers to use a cell phone while driving - even with a hands free device - until they have had a drivers license for two years. Drivers under the age of 18 also tend to NOT be permitted under the new laws to use a cell phone while driving under any circumstance.
Some States use a "point system" to assess points against a driving record associated with a cell phone use driving violation. Some States have also adopted laws prohibiting the use of a text messaging device while driving, such as Washington.
Individual State cell phone laws also apply to out-of-state drivers visiting and driving in the State where the law applies. Ignorance of the local cell phone law won't get you out of a traffic ticket.
Cell phone law changes
The following States have legislation pending or already approved and waiting to take effect. Depending on the State, the change may be the first cell phone law affecting the driving rules to take effect, or it may be an update to an existing law. For example, an early adopter of hands-free driving law is the State of California, in 2007, with an update to their law already written and approved by that legislature and waiting to take effect in 2011.