featured image
Car Insurance

Texting and Driving Laws and Punishments

The cost varies per state but it can range anywhere from $20 in California to $400 in New Jersey to $10,000 in Alaska.

Texting is one of the most dangerous things to do while driving it increases your risk of crashing by 23x. You are not only putting yourself at risk while using your cell phone but others as well. It only takes a second or two for something to happen when your eyes are off the road, and the minimum amount of time you spend looking at text is five seconds. Much can happen in that time and once something happens, you can’t take things back no matter how much you may wish to.

Despite the facts, many drivers still continue this irresponsible and reckless act. It can seem very tempting to simply look down and read a text or dial a phone number or send a quick message, but the consequences of simply replying to a text can be dire. For this reason, 46 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands all ban text messaging while driving, of the four states that don’t have a ban on all texting and driving, two of them ban texting by young, new drivers, and one bans school bus drivers from texting. Out of these, all of them except for five count this as a primary law.

Let’s pause for a moment in case you were wondering what exactly a primary law is. A primary law means a police officer can ticket you for the act without having to ticket you for any other traffic violation. Opposite this is a secondary law which states that you can only be ticketed for the offense if you have been pulled over for something else. For example, you can be pulled over if you drive past a police officer and happen to be texting at the same time, but you cannot be pulled over because you are talking on a hands-free cell phone simply because an officer sees you speaking into a headset. Not all states consider hands-free devices a secondary offenses, but in those that do, you have to be first pulled over for, let’s say, not wearing your seat belt or having a broken taillight before an officer can ticket you for that.

With these laws in place and the facts that are accessible to all, you’d think that texting and driving would be all but eliminated, but you’d be wrong. In fact, more than a third of drivers are engage in this behavior, and the numbers seem to be increasing. No one seems to think that they will be a statistic and that they are immune to the dangers that are present when you text and drive. Sometimes police do to catch you, and sometimes they don't, texting and driving is much like driving drunk, you shouldn't do it regardless of the consequences.

If you are caught texting and driving by the police usually you'll be issued a fine. The cost varies per state but it can range anywhere from $20 in California to $400 in New Jersey to $10,000 in Alaska. With all the technology that is constantly being developed and improved upon to keep us safe, and make features that reduce or eliminate the temptation to text and drive, some still insist acting irresponsibly. No text is worth a fine no matter the message, more importantly, no text is worth your life or the lives of others!