Using cell phones while driving
It is illegal to drive and:
- Talk on a cell phone
- Text or e-mail
- Wear headphones while driving, unless it is a single-sided headset for a cell phone
- Watch videos or TV while driving
A driver can use a cell phone while driving in the following situations:
- To report an emergency and get help
- When a driver is on the shoulder of the road and parked
- When using a GPS device, including devices that come with the car
- When using a hands-free or voice-operated function on a phone, like a headset, Bluetooth device, earpiece, or speakerphone
Fines for using a cell phone while driving include:
- $75 the first time
- $100 the second time
- $125 the third time
- $150 for every time after the third time
A driver may also have his or her license suspended after getting caught 4 times.
Note: Drivers under 19 can never use cell phones, even ones that are hands-free, except in case of emergency to contact a law enforcement agency, health-care provider, or emergency services agency.
Drivers under 18
Curfew hours for drivers under 18
Until they are 18, licensed drivers cannot drive during curfew hours, meaning after 11 pm on Friday and Saturday nights, and after 10 pm on all other nights. Curfew hours last until 6 am the next day. Between those hours, the license of a young driver is not valid.
This is different from the general curfew law. That law affects kids 16 and under, and starts an hour later.
There are exceptions that can make a minor's license valid during curfew hours. Here are some examples:
- Driving with a parent, guardian, or other person in custody of the minor
- Running an errand after being asked by a parent or guardian
- Traveling between states
- Going to or from work, or an official school, religious, or other recreational activity supervised by adults
- During an emergency
- While exercising first amendment rights
- If married or emancipated
Those same exceptions apply to the general curfew law.
Passengers in the car with drivers under 18
When they are driving, those under 18 must limit and control their passengers. They must:
- Make all passengers wear seat belts
- Not have more than one passenger in the front seat
- Not have more passengers in the back seat than there are seat belts
For the first 12 months after getting a license, drivers under 18 cannot have more than one passenger under the age of 20 in the car. The driver's siblings or children do not count toward that limit.
The one-young-passenger limit ends after 12 months or when the driver turns 18, whichever occurs first. So, a 17 year old who has had a license for 12 months could have a car full of young passengers.
Being an over-the-limit young passenger is also an offense if you are 15 to 19.
All passengers must wear seat belts.