While other driving laws like those pertaining to DUI offences are severe throughout most of the USA, laws about cell phone use while driving differ greatly from state to state.
It is important to avail yourself of the correct laws and regulations for wherever you are driving in the US, as the law can differ from one side of a city to another.
The Different Views
The reason for this could be that there is no standard line of evidence from studies into the subject. Some studies for instance have found that the act of dialling or answering a call while driving distracts and can contribute to an increase in accidents.
Other research has shown that is more the actual conversation that increases the risk of accidents, particularly if they are highly emotionally.
Further to this many argue that conversation on a phone, particularly hands free isn’t any different to having a conversation with passengers in the car.
The debate is further divided over whether hands free kits are safe or not. Some argue that the amount of fiddling and adjusting people do with the earpieces is actually more involved in the simple dialling of a number on a handset. Many consider connecting your phone through your cars in built microphone via Bluetooth may be the safest option. Again, if the actual conversation is the most dangerous and distracting thing, then this isn’t avoided with this method either.
Cell Phone and Laws on Driving
We will now discuss the variety of cell phone handset use while driving laws throughout the USA. In 10 states (Washington, Utah, Oregon, New York, New Jersey, Nevada, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut, California) and the area of Columbia there is enforced laws against talking on a cell phone handset. Utah refers to the offence as careless driving and under the law; no one actually commits an offence unless they are involved in some sort of other violation like speeding.
There are 30 states and the Columbian District that currently restrict the use of all cell phones by new drivers, and 19 with the District of Columbia where it is illegal for a school bus driver to use their phone while moving. The ban on text messaging while driving is rightly more widespread in 35 states along with Columbia.
While novice drivers oddly are only banned in 7 states from texting (West Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Missouri, Mississippi and Alabama) and only 3 states (Texas, Oklahoma and Mississippi) ban bus drivers from texting while on the move.
The restrictions and laws are often down to the state or even areas within a state, given that there is no clear standard across the country. Take the city of Detroit for instance; there are different parts that have cell phone use while driving restrictions along with some parts that have no restrictions. So you could find yourself on a cross city commute, where at different points you could get into trouble for something you didn’t 5 miles earlier.
The lack of a clear standard should motivate those in the habit of doing this practice to check what the restrictions and rules are in the particular places they are driving. Even if it is a rarity for someone, it would be wise to know to avoid being caught out.