Once just a texting and driving law, the Distracted Driving law was broadened and enacted in 2011 in an attempt to keep drivers focused and lessen injury
and death as a result of distracted driving. Between 2011 and 2015 alone, 192 people were killed and 26,977 injured as a result of distracted driving.
In fact, about 26% of all car crashes involve cell phone use (including hands-free).
Distracted Driving is a very broad, but appropriate term, as it includes any activity that takes a driver's mind off of the task of driving, hands off
of the steering wheel, or eyes off of the road, though cell phones and texting are the two most common distractions. This legislation bans texting
for all drivers, cell phone usage that is not hands-free in school zones, and all cell phone usage (including hands-free) for drivers under 18 years
The provisions of this law, however, do not apply when the operator of a moving vehicle uses a telecommunication to do one of the following:
- report illegal activity
- summon medical or other emergency help
- prevent injury to a person or property
- relay information between a transit or for-hire operator and that operator's dispatcher, in which the device is permanently affixed to the vehicle
- navigate using global positioning system
It is also does not apply to a healthcare provider communicating with a hospital, health clinic, or office of the physician, or providing emergency healthcare
though a text-based communication device.
The first violation of this law is punishable by a fine of no more than $175. Each subsequent violation will be punishable by a fine of no more than $500.
However, if a crash occurred during the violation, the fine is twice as much as the standard amount.