Distracted Driving and Car Insurance Rates (Costs & Penalties)

Distracted driving can increase your car insurance rates by 41% on average. Keep your rates low by avoiding texting, watching videos, or drinking and driving.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2020

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Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities (of total traffic deaths)Montana (Highest rate of fatalities)
Utah (Lowest rate of fatalities)
DUI death rates (per 100,000 people)Montana (Highest death rate)
New York (Lowest death rate)
DUI arrest rates (per 100,000 people)South Dakota (Highest DUI arrest rate)
Washington, D.C. (Lowest DUI arrest rate)
Fatal crashes involving distracted drivers34,247 (2017)
Texting banTexting is banned in 48 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands
Handheld phone banHandheld phone use is banned in 21 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands
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Did you know that putting on makeup or drinking coffee while driving are both considered distractions? And that you could be pulled over by a police officer for engaging in these activities while driving?

It’s true. It may seem like everybody does these things, but you could still end up getting in trouble with law enforcement if you’re caught.

Unfortunately, distracted driving is on the rise like never before, which makes it necessary to enact laws to ensure that everyone stays safe on the road. Almost 9 percent of all fatal crashes in the country are caused by distractions.

Talking on the phone or texting is still one of the major factors contributing to distracted driving crashes, but there are other activities as well that can cause you to take your eyes off the roads for a couple of seconds. And those few seconds are a lot when you’re driving on a freeway at 85 mph.

Distractions can also make you miss a signal or someone braking suddenly in front of you. That’s why we want to discuss in detail what exactly driving distractions are and how they can impact your insurance rates in the long run.

You can find insurance rates in your area by entering your ZIP code in the box above.

What is Considered a Distraction While Driving

Delving deep into the points we made previously, we’ll focus on every activity that can be a distraction for motorists, including those that are considered illegal while driving. Though not every distraction is banned by law, it’s important to limit absolutely any behavior that could cause you to lose focus while driving.

For instance, you might not take your eyes off the road while talking to your passengers normally, but if you’re disciplining your kids in the back seat, you might automatically turn to look at them. You may not think you’re distracted in that moment, but you absolutely are.

Types of Distraction

Distracted driving can be anything that takes your attention away from driving even if it happens for a millisecond. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), usually, there are three types of distractions — visual, manual, and cognitive.

When a driver takes their eyes off the road or hands off the steering wheel or attention away from driving, it can be called distracted driving. Texting while driving is one activity that involves all three types of distraction, which is why it’s banned almost everywhere in the U.S.

Though many people avoid using their phones while driving, there are plenty of other activities that can cause accidents if they take your mind, sight, or hands off of driving. Some of these activities include:

  • Talking to passengers
  • Smoking
  • Looking at your phone, even to use GPS
  • Eating or drinking

We understand that there are some things you can’t avoid, but try to minimize distractions as much as possible so you can stay safe on the road.

Using Cellphone While Driving

Possibly the most common distraction is the use of a cellphone by drivers for either calling or texting, with a growing number of people even browsing YouTube while behind the wheel. As much as people may claim that they can multitask, using your cellphone while driving is never a good idea, except in emergencies.

So, what do different state laws have to say about cellphone use while driving?

  • Texting: Because texting is the most hazardous activity, 48 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban it for all drivers.
  • Hand-held cellphone use: Holding a cellphone to make a call or engage in other activities such as browsing or texting is banned in 20 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Complete cellphone ban: None of the states completely ban the use of a cellphone while driving, but some do prohibit teenagers from using cellphones. Teen drivers aren’t allowed to use cellphones while driving in 38 states and D.C.

We know that it can be difficult to concentrate on driving when your cellphone is buzzing constantly, but if you take your eyes off driving, it can be dangerous. Here’s a great video about how you can avoid looking at your cellphone when driving.

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol/Other Substances (DUI)

One of the worst kinds of distraction is driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or any other substance that impairs your ability to drive or slows down your reflexes. Car insurance companies usually heavily penalize motorists who are convicted of DUI or involved in accidents as a result of alcohol-impaired driving.

The consequences of drunk driving in America are deadly. As per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), around 30 people die every day due to drunk driving crashes. That’s an alarming state of affairs.

In the year 2018, around 10,511 people died as a result of alcohol-impaired driving accidents.

Vehicle OccupantsTotal Fatalities (2017)Alcohol-impaired Crash FatalitiesPercent of total fatalities
Unknown occupant7322%
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In 2017, alcohol-impaired driving accounted for around 29 percent of the total fatalities from crashes, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Since alcohol impairs a person’s reasoning, thinking, and muscle coordination, every state has strict laws about how much a person can drink and still get behind the wheel. To enforce these laws, the state allows police officers to measure the level of alcohol in a driver’s blood.

Across all states and the District of Columbia, it’s illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08 or more, as the probability of a crash increases beyond this limit.

Though state laws permit motorists to drive with a BAC below 0.08, any amount of alcohol can be dangerous for you on the road. In 2017, around 1,837 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes where drivers had a BAC between 0.01 and 0.07.

Drunk driving among teenagers or young drivers is another rising problem in the U.S. Coupled with inexperience, intoxicated young drivers are a huge threat to safety on the roads.

  • In 2017, young drivers (between the ages of 16-24) accounted for 42 percent of fatal drunk-driving crashes.
  • In 2018, young drivers aged 21-24 accounted for the largest segment of drunk drivers at 27 percent, followed by drivers aged 25-34 at 26 percent.
  • When it comes to gender, men are more likely to be involved in drunk driving accidents than women.

Top Distractions While Driving

Apart from driving drunk or using a cellphone, motorists can get distracted from a multitude of activities without realizing how much they’re risking their own and everyone else’s safety.

So, what are the top distractions while driving?

Take a look at the list below.

  • Adjusting controls in your car: The control panel in your car lets you adjust music volume, change channels on the radio, increase your seat’s heating, switch on the air conditioner, and much more. Though these might seem like small tasks, any one of them can cause you to take your eyes or attention off driving, which can lead to crashes.
  • Talking to passengers: Chit-chatting a bit with your passengers is usually harmless; however, make sure you can do so without looking around at the people you’re talking to. Also, having a heated discussion is a bad idea, as it takes your mind off driving.
  • Personal grooming: Maybe you’re running late and didn’t have time to go through your whole morning routine before you left the house. Maybe you think there’s no harm in applying makeup while you’re cruising down the highway. Wrong. If you’re looking at your own face in the rearview mirror, you’re not looking at the road. It is highly recommended you do not attempt to apply makeup while driving, and doing so is illegal in Washington state.
  • Discipling your children: Even when your children are screaming or demanding attention, you should try to ignore their tantrums while driving. The same goes for pets, as they can be very demanding of your attention. It’s never a good idea to drive with your pet on your lap.
  • Thinking intently: It’s easy to get lost in thought while driving, but thinking about something too intensely can cause you to lose focus. Driving requires your complete attention, as you need to be able to react quickly to events unfolding around you.
  • Checking directions: Modern times have made us dependent on GPS to figure out where we’re going. You may often find yourself typing on Google Maps to get directions while driving. Instead of doing this, plug in the address before you leave, and pull over if you need to make adjustments along the way.

Dangers of Distracted Driving

Car accident-related fatalities and injuries are at an all-time high due to distractions while driving, which can include any of the activities we’ve discussed in the previous section.

  • In 2017, 3,166 people died in distracted driving crashes.
  • Distracted drivers are responsible for nine fatalities and thousands of injuries every day.
  • Drivers under the age of 20 are responsible for the largest share of fatal crashes due to distracted driving.

Apart from the risk of crashes, distracted driving can also cause drivers to miss signals or exceed the speed limit, leading to traffic violation tickets. These will cause your insurance premium to rise.

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Distracted Driving Laws for Cellphone Use

Merely issuing warnings or recommendations rarely works in curtailing distracted driving. That’s why most states have stringent laws against cellphone use while driving.

Using a cellphone while driving for either texting or calling can lead to one or more of these penalties:

  • Monetary fines
  • License suspension
  • Prison time in the event of a fatal crash

Cellphone Use While Driving Laws by State

Let’s look at laws about cellphone usage while driving in different states.

StateHand-held banYoung drivers cellphone banTexting banEnforcement
ALNo16-year-old drivers; 17-year-old drivers who have held an intermediate license for fewer than 6 monthsAll driversPrimary
AKNoNoAll driversPrimary
AZAll driversLearner's permit holders and intermediate license holders during the first 6 months after licensingAll driversPrimary; secondary: learner's permit holders and intermediate license holders during the first 6 months after licensing
ARDrivers 18 or older but younger than 21; school and highway work zonesDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
CAAll driversDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary: hand-held and texting by drivers 18 and older; secondary: drivers younger than 18
CONoDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
CTAll driversDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
DEAll driversLearner's permit and intermediate license holdersAll driversPrimary
DCAll driversDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
FLDrivers in school and work zonesNoAll driversPrimary
GAAll driversDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
HIAll driversDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
IDNoNoAll driversPrimary
ILAll driversDrivers younger than 19 and learner's permit holders younger than 19All driversPrimary
INNoDrivers younger than 21All driversPrimary
IANoLearner's permit and intermediate license holdersAll driversPrimary
KSNoLearner's permit and intermediate license holdersAll driversPrimary
KYNoDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
LADrivers in signed school zones; with respect to novice driversAll novice driversAll driversPrimary
MEAll driversLearner's permit and intermediate license holdersAll driversPrimary
MDAll driversDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
MAAll drivers (effective 02/23/20)Drivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
MINoLearner's permit and intermediate license holders (level 1 and 2); integrated voice-operated systems exceptedAll driversPrimary
MNAll driversLearner's permit holders and provisional license holders during the first 12 months after licensingAll driversPrimary
MSNoNoAll driversPrimary
MONoNoDrivers 21 and youngerPrimary
MTNoNoNoNot applicable
NENoLearner's permit and intermediate license holders younger than 18All driversSecondary
NVAll driversNoAll driversPrimary
NHAll driversDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
NJAll driversLearner's permit and intermediate license holdersAll driversPrimary
NMNoLearner's permit and intermediate license holdersAll driversPrimary
NYAll driversNoAll driversPrimary
NCNoDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
NDNoDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
OHNoDrivers younger than 18All driversSecondary; primary for drivers younger than 18
OKLearner's permit and intermediate license holdersNoAll driversPrimary
ORAll driversDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
PANoNoAll driversPrimary
RIAll driversDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
SCNoNoAll driversPrimary
SDNoLearner's permit and intermediate license holdersAll driversSecondary
TNAll driversLearner's permit and intermediate license holdersAll driversPrimary
TXDrivers in school crossing zones and on public school property during the time the reduced speed limit appliesDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
UTNoDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
VTAll driversDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
VADrivers in highway work zonesDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary; secondary for drivers younger than 18
WAAll driversLearner's permit and intermediate license holdersAll driversPrimary
WVAll driversDrivers younger than 18 who hold either a learner's permit or an intermediate licenseAll driversPrimary
WIDrivers in highway construction areasLearner's permit and intermediate license holdersAll driversPrimary
WYNoNoAll driversPrimary
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For teenagers, the use of a cellphone while driving is completely banned in most states. There are a few states that allow adults to use cellphones to some extent while driving; however, texting isn’t allowed anywhere except Missouri and Montana.

In fact, Montana is the only state that doesn’t have a state-wide law to ban the use of cellphones while driving.

Where cellphone ban laws are in place, they are usually rigidly enforced. In states that ban the use of hand-held phones, using one while driving is a primary offense, meaning a police officer can cite motorists if they’re caught. In most states with a text messaging ban, this law is also under primary enforcement.

Penalties for Using Cellphone and Texting while Driving

Since texting is the most dangerous distraction — taking your mind, as well as your hands, off of driving — it is banned in almost all states.

You can see the penalties for texting or using a cellphone while driving for each state in the table below. The penalties increase with each subsequent violation.

StatePenalty for Cellphone Use
AlabamaFines for texting are $25 (first violation). This increases to $50 for a second offense and $75 for third and subsequent offenses. It also adds two-points to your driving record.
AlaskaAlaska has the harshest penalties for texting while driving which is a Class A misdemenaor and carries a fine of up to $10,000. It also leads to prison time of up to one year.
ArizonaArizona recently enacted a texting ban law for motorists and the fines will start kicking in by the year 2021. Using a cellphone attracts a fine of $75 to $149 for a first violation. Second or subsequent violations can lead to a fine of $150 to $250.
ArkansasThe state's cellphone and texting laws are “primary” laws. Fines can range between $250 and $500.
CaliforniaThe state's driving law imposes a fine of $20 for the first violation and a $50 fine for each subsequent offense. It's a zero-point offense.
ColoradoFor the first violation, drivers face fines of $300 and get four points on their driving record. Subsequent violations can lead to up to $1,000 in fines and/or up to one year in jail.
ConnecticutThe fine for a first offense is $150, $300 for a second violation and $500 for subsequent offenses.
DCFirst time offenders face fines of $100 and a second violation within 18-months attracts a fine of $150, while a third one leads to a fine of $200. A third-offense can also lead to license suspensions for 30 to 90 days.
DelawareDrivers caught using a cellphone while driving will be fined $100 for the first violation. Subsequent violations will attract fines between $200 and $300.
FloridaStarting this year, drivers in Florida can be pulled over by police officers if they are using a cellphone. The fines will range from $30 to $100 and three points on your record.
GeorgiaFirst time offenders are subject to a fine of $50 and one point on their driving record.
HawaiiUsually drivers in violation of the law are fined $250, however, it can increase to $300 if caught in a school or construction zone.
IdahoTexting while driving normally leads to a fine of $81.50.
IllinoisViolators of the state's cellphone ban will receive fines of $75 for the first offense, $100 for a second offense, $125 for a third offense, and $150 for any subsequent offenses.
IndianaViolators who are caught texting or even reading emails are subject to fines up to $500.
IowaDistracted driving convictions can lead to fines of $100. But, if distracted driving leads to injuries or death, the fine increases to $1,000.
KansasA texting violation leads to a fine of $60 in Kansas.
KentuckyViolators of the texting ban will receive a $25 fine for the first violation and $50 for subsequent violations.
LouisianaDistracted driving laws in the state attract a fine of up to $500 for a first violation and up to $1,000 as well as license suspension for a second violation.
MaineA violation of the state's distracted driving laws can result in a fine of at least $250 and 30-day license suspension for repeat violations.
MarylandFor first-time violators, the maximum fine is $75, which increases to $125 for a second violation and $175 for any subsequent violations.
MassachusettsFrom Feb 23rd, 2020, the state bans the use of cellphones and other hand-held devices while driving.
MichiganFines for texting are $100 for a first offense and $200 for subsequent offenses.
MinnesotaGetting caught holding a cellphone invites a fine of $50 for a first offense and $275 for subsequent offenses.
MississippiDrivers caught using a cellphone for texting or using social media will face fines of up to $100.
MissouriThe state's laws make it illegal for young drivers to text while driving and slaps a fine of $200 on violators.
NebraskaA driver who violates the texting law can be fined $200 (first offense), $300 (second offense), or $500 (for subsequent offenses), plus 3 points against their driver’s license.
NevadaViolation of the law is punishable by a fine of up to $50 for a first offense, $100 for a second offense within seven years, and $250 for a third offense within seven years.
New HampshireThere is a $100 fine for text messaging while driving.
New JerseyThe fine for violating New Jersey’s cellphone or texting laws is $100.
New MexicoNew Mexico’s novice texting and cellphone laws are considered “primary” laws. A primary law means that an officer can pull a novice over for the offense without having to witness some other violation.
New YorkA driver in New York who uses a cellphone to send text messages while driving in New York can be fined up to $150 plus mandatory surcharges and fees of up to $85.
North CarolinaNorth Carolina’s text messaging and cellphone laws are considered “primary” laws. A primary law means that an officer can pull you over for the offense without having to witness some other violation.
North DakotaThere is a $100 fine for text messaging while driving.
OhioFines for violation of the anti-texting law are up to $150, and for novice drivers, up to $300.
OklahomaViolating the texting ban may result in suspension or loss of license.
OregonThe fine for violating Oregon’s cellphone or texting laws is $142.
PennsylvaniaThe fine for violating Pennsylvania’s texting ban is $50.
Rhode IslandUsing a cellphone while driving will result in an $85 fine for the first offense, $100 for the second, and $125 for third and subsequent offenses.
South Carolina$25 fine for first time violators of the texting ban.
South DakotaThose who text and drive in South Dakota will face a fine of $100.
TennesseeViolation of the texting law is punishable by a fine of up to $50 plus court costs not to exceed $10.
TexasThe state legislation bans the use of cellphones for texting or writing emails and fines can range between $25 and $99.
UtahUnder Utah’s law, someone caught texting and driving now faces up to three months in jail and up to a $750 fine.
VermontViolation of the texting law is punishable by a fine of $100 for a first offense and $250 for a second and subsequent offense within a two year period.
VirginiaVirginia’s texting law is a secondary law, which refers to the fact that an officer can only pull you over and issue a ticket if they have witnessed some other violation.
WashingtonWashington’s handheld cellphone and texting laws are considered “primary” laws, as is the prohibition on all cellphones for bus drivers.
West VirginiaViolation of the texting law is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $25 for a first offense, $50 for a second offense, and $75 for a third offense.
WisconsinThe penalty for a first offense for violating the texting law is a fine of $20 to $400 and up to four points on the driving record of the offender.
WyomingThe penalty for violating the texting law is a fine of up to $75.
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Can a Cop Pull You Over for Texting while Driving?

Even in states where using a cellphone while driving is not illegal, texting is usually banned. As we discussed earlier, in most states, texting is a primary enforcement law.

If your state has a primary enforcement law, police officers can and will pull you over if they see you texting while driving. The penalty will not be as severe as it is in cases where texting causes an accident, but you can still receive a ticket just for violating the law.

How Long Does a Cellphone or Texting Ticket Stay on Your Driving Record?

Tickets not only cost you money or license suspensions but can also raise your auto insurance premiums. And, as long as the offense stays on your driving record, insurance companies will keep charging you high premiums.

Insurance companies believe that people who have been charged with distracted driving in the past may be more likely to cause an accident, and thus more likely to file a claim

If a distracted driving or moving violation has been cleared from your driving record, it won’t impact your rates. But insurance companies have their own criteria for issuing rates based on your prior offenses.

While the impact on insurance rates varies by state, by insurance company, and by type of violation, you should ask your insurance agent about how much they raise rates after any incidence. Here’s a look at how insurance premiums increase at different companies when you have a violation on your driving record.

Insurance ProvidersImpact on Auto Insurance Premiums
EsuranceRates are impacted if motorists have had any moving violations in the past three years or DUI violations in the past 10 years
ProgressiveAn at-fault accident may raise your rates by 62.5% on average
State FarmIf you have had speeding tickets or accidents in the past few years, these will impact your rates
USAAAccidents can impact your rates for three years. Any major traffic violation in the past five years can also impact your rates
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Although insurance companies refrain from providing any information on how long your rates would be impacted by a violation, they usually increase your premiums for a minimum of three years. Some companies also offer the option of accident-forgiveness if you’re in a minor accident after having been have been accident-free for the past three to five years.

Drunk Driving Laws or DUI Laws by State

Driving under the influence of alcohol is one of the worst things you can do — not only does it substantially increase the chance of violations and (potentially fatal) accidents, but a DUI record doesn’t go down well with insurance companies.

Simply put, if you’re caught driving drunk, you will not like your car insurance bill in the next cycle.

Let’s look at the DUI laws by state.

BAC Level Limits and Penalties by State
StatesBAC LimitHigh BAC LimitCriminal Status by OffenseFormal Name for OffenseLook Back Period/Washout Period
Alabama0.080.151st-3rd misdemeanors, 4th+ in 5 years Class C felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)5 years
Alaska0.08NA1st-2nd Class A misdemeanors, 3rd+ in 10 years class C felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI) / Operating Under the Influence (OUI)15 years
Arizona0.080.15-0.2; 0.2+1st-2nd Class 1 misdemeanor, 3rd+ Class 4 felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)7 years
Arkansas0.08NA4th+ within 5 years is a felony (otherwise unclassified)Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)5 years
California0.080.15-0.2; 0.2+Non-injury DUIs are misdemeanors. 4th+ felony if offender sentenced to incarceration in state prisonDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Colorado0.05 - DWAI, 0.08 - DUI0.15-0.2; 0.2+1st-3rd misdemeanors, 4th+ Class 4 felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)no official period
Connecticut0.08NA1st misdemeanor, 2+ within 10 years are feloniesDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Delaware0.080.15-0.2; 0.2+1st-2nd unclassified misdemeanors, 3rd Class G felony, 4th-5th Class E felonies, 6th Class D felony, 7th Class C felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years for 2nd offense, unlimited/lifetime for 3rd+
Florida0.080.151st-2nd misdemeanors, 3rd+ within 10 years is 3rd degree felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years for 3rd offense, unlimited/lifetime for 4th+
Georgia0.080.151st-2nd misdemeanors, 3rd high and aggravated misdemeanor, 4th+ felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Hawaii0.08NA1st-3rd petty misdemeanors, 4th+ Class C felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)/ Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant (OVUII)5 years
Idaho0.080.21st-2nd misdemeanors, 2nd or subsequent with BAC > 0.20 felony, 3rd+ felony. DUI with bodily harm or disfigurement is felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years for DUI, 5 years for HBAC
Illinois0.080.161st-2nd Class A misdemeaor, 3rd-4th Class 2 felony, 5th Class 1 felony, 6th+ Class X felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Indiana0.080.151st Class C misdemeanor, 1st high BAC Class A misdemeanor; subsequent convictions within 5 years, Class D felonyOperating While Intoxicated (OWI)5 years
Iowa0.080.151st serious misdemeanor, 2nd aggravated misdemeanor, 3rd+ Class D felonyOperating While Intoxicated (OWI)12 years
Kansas0.080.151st Class B non-person misdemeanor, 2nd Class A non-person misdemeanor, 3rd+ non-person felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Kentucky0.080.151st Class B misdemeanor, 2nd-3rd within 5 years, Class A misdemeanors, 4th+ Class D felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Louisiana0.080.15; 0.21st-2nd not classified, 3rd either misdemeanor or felony, 4th felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Maine0.080.151st-2nd Class D crime, 3rd+ within 10 years Class C crimesOperating Under the Influence (OUI)10 years
Maryland0.080.15All misdemeanorsDriving Under the Influence (DUI)5 years
Massachusetts0.080.21st-2nd unclassified, 3rd+ feloniesOperating Under the Influence (OUI)Unlimited/lifetime
Michigan0.080.171st-2nd unclassified, 3rd+ feloniesOperating While Intoxicated (OWI)7 years for 2nd offense, unlimited/lifetime for 3rd+
Minnesota0.080.164th degree offense w/no aggravating factors is misdemeanor; 3rd degree offense w/one aggravating factor is gross misdemeanor; 2nd degree offense w/ two aggravating factors is gross misdemeanor; 1st degree offense w/ 3+ aggravating factors is felony (Aggravating Factors: 1) any prior drunken driving offense 2) driving with BAC > 0.19 3) driving w/passenger <16 yo if passenger is more than 36 months younger than driverDriving While Impaired (DWI)10 years
Mississippi0.08NA1st-2nd misdemeanors, 3rd+ felonies with 4th automatic felony carrying 2-10 years in prisonDriving Under the Influence (DUI)5 years
Missouri0.080.15; 0.21st intoxication offense Class B misdemeanor, first per se offense Class C misdemeanor, 2nd Class A misdemeanors, 3rd Class D felony, 4th+ Class C felonyDriving While Intoxicated (DWI)5 years
Montana0.080.161st-3rd misdemeanors, 4th+ feloniesDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years for 2nd offense, unlimited/lifetime for 3rd+
Nebraska0.080.151st-3rd w/in 15 years Class W misdemeanors, 4th w/in 15 years Class IIIA felony, 5th+ w/in 15 years Class III felonies, injury related DUI Class IIIA felony. If driver with prior felony conviction with BAC >0.15 caught driving with BAC >0.02, Class IIIA misdemeanor in addition to any other penaltiesDriving Under the Influence (DUI)15 years
Nevada0.080.181st-2nd misdemeanors, 3rd+ in 7 years Category B feloniesDriving Under the Influence (DUI)7 years
New Hampshire0.080.161st Class B misdemeanor, 2nd-3rd non-injury Class A misdemeanors, 4th+ non-injury felony, DUI with serious bodily injury Class B felonyDriving While Intoxicated (DWI)10 years
New Jersey0.080.15Drunken driving is a "violation" not a "crime"Driving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
New Mexico0.080.161st-3rd not classified, 4th-5th fourth degree felony, 6th+ third degree felonyDriving While Impaired (DWI)Unlimited/lifetime
New York0.05 - DWAI, 0.08 - DUI0.18DWAI:1st traffic violation, 2nd+ misdemeanors; DWI: 1st misdemeanor, 2nd in 10 years Class E felony, 3rd+ in 10 years Class D felonyDriving While Intoxicated (DWI); High BAC Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (ADWI)10 years for 2nd offense, 15 years for 3rd+
North Carolina0.080.151st-3rd classified as Level 1-5 based on sentence length, 4th+ Class F felonyDriving While Impaired (DWI)7 years
North Dakota0.080.181st and 2nd offense within 7 years are Class B misdemeanors. 3rd offense within 7 years is a Class A misdemeanor. 4th and subsequent offenses within 15 years are Class C feloniesDriving Under the Influence (DUI)7 years
Ohio0.080.171st-2nd first degree misdemeanors, 3rd misdemeanor, 4th in 6 years fourth degree felony, + in any time period third degree felonyOperating a Vehicle Under the Influence (OVI)10 years
Oklahoma0.080.151st misdemeanor, 2nd+ in 10 years feloniesDriving While Intoxicated (DWI)10 years
Oregon0.080.151st-3rd Class A misdemeanors, 4th+ Class C feloniesDriving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII)10 years
Pennsylvania0.080.161st-2nd misdemeanors, 3rd+ second degree misdemeanorsDriving After Imbibing (DAI)10 years
Rhode Island0.080.151st-2nd non-injury misdemeanors, 3rd+ non-injury felony, DUI w/ serious bodily injury is felonyDriving While Intoxicated (DWI)5 years
South Carolina0.080.161st misdemeanor, 2nd in 10 years Class C misdemeanor, 3rd in 10 years Class A misdemeanor, 4th+ in 10 years Class F feloniesDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
South Dakota0.080.171st-2nd Class 1 misdemeanors, 3rd in 10 years Class 6 felony, 4th in 10 years Class 5 felony, 5th+ Class 4 feloniesDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Tennessee0.080.21st-3rd Class A misdemeanors, 4th+ in 10 years Class E felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Texas0.080.151st Class B misdemeanor, 2nd in 5 years Class A misdemeanor, 3rd+ third degree feloniesDriving While Intoxicated (DWI)Unlimited/lifetime for sentencing; 5 years for 2nd+ when determining need for IID
Utah0.08; changes to 0.05 12/20180.161st-2nd Class B misdemeanors, 3rd+ in 10 years third degree feloniesDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Vermont0.080.161st-2nd misdemeanors, 3rd+ feloniesDriving Under the Influence (DUI)Unlimited/lifetime
Virginia0.080.15; 0.21st-2nd Class 1 misdemeanors, 3rd+ in 10 years Class 6 felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Washington0.080.151st-4th gross misdemeanor, 5th+ Class B felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)7 years
West Virginia0.080.151st-2nd misdemeanors, 3rd+ in 10 years feloniesDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Wisconsin0.080.17-.199; 0.2-0.249; 0.25+1st municipal offense, 2nd-3rd misdemeanors, 4th in 5 years and 5th-6th anytime Class H felony, 7th-9th Class G felony, 10th+ Class F felonyOperating While Intoxicated (OWI)10 years
Wyoming0.080.151st-3rd non-injury misdemeanor, 4th+ non-injury in 10 years felony, serious injury DUI is felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Washington DC0.080.2-0.25; 0.25-0.3; 0.3+All are misdemeanorsDriving Under the Influence (DUI)15 years
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Because of the risks involved with drunk driving, all states have strict laws in place to combat this behavior. Many states have a high BAC limit law as well, which attracts harsher penalties.

alcohol-impaired driving fatality rate by state

Note that some states also have a washout/lookback period, which determines how long the DUI conviction stays on your record. In states where there’s no washout period, like Massachusetts, the DUI offense will remain on your record in perpetuity, and any subsequent conviction will be counted as a repeat offense.

Penalties for Drunk Driving by State

Penalties can include fines, imprisonment, license suspensions, and vehicle impoundment, depending on the severity of your offense.

StatesFirst Offense - ALS or RevocationFirst Offense - ImprisonmentFirst Offense - FineFirst Offense - Other
AlabamaALS - mandatory 90 daysUp to 1 yr in municipal or county jail (no minimum)$500-$2,000 +$100 for Impaired Drivers Trust FundMandatory DUI school
Alaska90 daysMandatory min 72 consecutive hours$1,500 min +$200 license reinstatement feeSR-22 liability insurance required for 5 years, possible attendance at ASAP endorsed treatment program; mandatory interlock 1 year
Arizona90-360 daysMin. 1-10 days$250 base fine
Arkansas6 months24 hours - 1 year, or community service$150-$1,000For license reinstatement, must complete approved treatment or education program and a Victim Impact Panel +$150 reinstatement fee; interlock device equal to license suspension time
California4 months96 hours to 6 months, including 48 continuous hours$390-$1,000$125 license reinstatement fee ($100 under 21 yr. old suspended under Zero Tolerance Law) +CA Ins Proof Certificate (SR 22/SR 1P) + DUI program for license reinstatement
Colorado9 months5 days-1 year$600-$1,00024-48 hours public service
Connecticut45 days + 1 year with IIDEither 1) up to 6 months w/ mandatory 2 day min or 2) up to six months suspended with probation requiring 100 hours community service$500-$1,000
Delaware12 monthsNo minimum$500IID Installed for 12-23 months on one vehicle registered in offender's name after serving 30 days of revocation period and enrollment in rehabilitation program
Florida180 days min up to 1 year8 hrs minimum, but not more than 6 months; with high BAC or minor in car, not more than 9 months; for a first conviction, total period of probation and incarceration may not exceed 1 year$500-$1,000; High BAC or minor in car, $1,000-$2,000Car impounded for 10 days unless family has no other transportation; mandatory 50 hours community service or additional fine of $10 for each hour of CS required
Georgia120 days min up to 1 year10 days-12 months, can all be suspended at judge's discretion unless HBAC, then all but 24 hours can be suspended$300-$1,00020-40 hours community service
Hawaii1 year48 hours-5 days$150-$1,000 +$25 to neurotrama special fund +$25 to trauma system special fund if court ordered14 hour min rehab program; may require 72 hours community service; IID for 1 year
Idaho90-180 daysNo minimum, but up to 6 monthsNo minimum, but up to $1,000
Illinois1 yearNo minimum, but up to 1 year$500 to $2,500Before driving privileges restored, must complete substance evaluation and treatment program +high-risk auto insurance for 3 years
Indiana30 days-2 years OR probation with rehabilitation courseNo minimum, but up to 1 year$500 to $5,000May be required to: attend victim impact panel, submit to urine testing and other terms of probation
Iowa180 days but may apply for temporary restricted license; if crash occurred or BAC > .10, must install IID48 hours-up to 1 year; min 48 hours may be served in OWI program with law enforcement security$625 up to $1,250 OR community serviceMust complete substance abuse evaluation and treatment program and might be assigned a reality education substance abuse prevention program
Kansas30 day suspension then 330 day restriction48 hours mandatory OR 100 hours community service$500-$1,000Must complete substance abuse evaluation and treatment program; vehicle can be impounded for up to 1 year
Kentucky30-120 days2-30 days$200-$50090 days of alcohol or substance abuse program; possible 48 hours-30 days of community labor
Louisiana1 year/HBAC 2 years48 hours in jail + up to 6 months OR fine; up to 2 years probation$300-$1,000 +$100 reinstatement fee30 hours reeducation, 32+ hours community service, half must be street garbage pickup
Maine150 days min w/ or w/o aggravating factorsNone; 48 hours min with aggravating factors$500
Maryland6 monthsNo minimum, but up to 1 yearNo minimum, but up to $100012 points on license
Massachusetts1 year after date of conviction; may apply for work/education provisional license after 3 monthsNo minimum, but up to 2.5 years$500-$5000May be granted two year parole with 2 week treatment program
MichiganMandatory 6 months; may be eligible for restricted license after 30 days5 days - 1 year consecutive jail time OR 30-90 community service$100-$5006 points on record; possible IID
MinnesotaRevoked for 90 days (180 days if under 21)No minimum, but up to 90 days$1,000
Mississippi90 days + completion of alcohol safety program unless received IID licenseNo minimum. 48 hours OR attend victim impact panel$250-$1,000Complete alcohol safety program within 1 year
Missouri30 day suspension, may be eligible for restricted driving privilegeNo minimumNo minimum
Montana6 month suspension24 hours-6 months$600-$1,000 +$200 reinstatement fee10 license points for life; must participate in ACT phases (assessment, course, treatment); may be ordered to use IID
Nebraska2 month minimum; may be served with IID upon court order. If given probation or suspended sentence: 60 day DL revocation7-60 days probation/suspended sentence: 10 days in jail or 240 hours community serviceNo minimum, but up to $500SR-22 for three years
Nevada90 days; eligible for restricted license after half of revocation period2 days-6 months OR 96 hours community service$400-$1,000SR-22 for three years; pay $150 for DUI school; may be ordered to attend treatment program
New Hampshire9 months-6 years, 6 months can be suspended if enrolled in 20 hour Impaired Driver Intervention Programno minimum$500 min
New JerseyBAC 0.08-0.99: 3 months; BAC 0.10-0.14: 7 months-1 year; BAC 0.15+: 7 months - 1 year, IID during suspension and 6 months - 1 year following restorationMinimum 12 hrs BAC 0.08+: up to 30 daysBAC 0.08-0.99: $250-$400; BAC 0.10-0.14: $300-$500; BAC 0.15+: $300-$500; BAC 0.08+ $3505 in fees and surcharges12-48 hours Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC)
New Mexico6 months-1 year (if under 21, 1 year)No minimum, but up to 90 days; high BAC additional 2 days jail mandatoryNo minimumDWI school, evaluation, IID for 1 year, community service
New YorkRevoked for at least 6 months; ADWI: 1 year minNo minimum, but up to 1 year; ADWI: up to 1 year$500-$1,000; ADWI: $1,000-$2,500
North Carolina60 day suspension, 1 year revocation1 day minimum. See columns 55 & 56 for NC sentencing structure and additional penaltiesNo minimum
North Dakota91 days minimumNo minimum$500 minimum
Ohio6 months minimum, but up to 3 years; 15 days before eligible for restricted driving privileges with IID3 days jail or 3 days DIP - 6 months (if court grants unrestricted driving privilege with IID, mandatory jail time suspended)$250-$1,075; license reinstatement fee $4756 points on driving record; up to 5 years probation, optional treatment order, optional restricted plates
Oklahoma1 month up to 6 months5 days-1 yearNo minimum, but up to $1,000IID required if BAC 0.15+ for 18 months
Oregon1 year2 days-1 year OR 80 hours community serviceMin $1,000 for BAC; min $2,000 for HBAC; up $10,000 if child in carDrug and alcohol program, participation in victim impact panel, IID for 1 year after license suspension
PennsylvaniaNo minimumNo minimum, but up to 6 months probation$300Alcohol hwy safety school, treatment when ordered
Rhode Island60 days-18 monthsNo minimum, but up to 1 year or 10-60 hours community service$100-$500 +$500 to hwy assessment fundPossible attendance to treatment program; SR-22 insurance
South Carolina6 months48 hours-30 days$400 minimum ($992 with assessments and surcharges)
South Dakota30 days-1 yearNo minimum, but up to 1 year$2,000 minimum
Tennessee1 year48 hours-11 months; HBAC: min 7 consecutive days$350-$1,500DUI school required, court may require IID and/or addiction treatment
Texas90 days-1 year, may be eligible for hardship permit72 hours-6 monthsNo minimum, but up to $2,000 +conviction based surcharge of $1,000 for three consecutive years; if HBAC, surcharge is $1,500 for three consecutive years24-100 hours community service; required evaluation, DUI education, and victim impact panel; possible IID
Utah120 days; alcohol restricted driving privilege 2 yearsMin 48 consecutive hours OR 48 hours community service OR home confinement$1,310 minIID 18 months
Vermont90 daysNo minimum, but up to 2 yearsNo minimum, but up to $700Alcohol and Driving Education Program required
Virginia1 year, restricted permit possibleUp to 1 year; if BAC 0.15-0.19, mandatory 5 days; if BAC .20+, mandatory 20 days$250 mandatory minimumVA Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP) required; IID required if BAC 0.15+
Washington90 days24 consecutive hours-365 days OR 15 days electronic home monitoring$865.50-$5,000IID 1 year, addiction education or treatment as ordered
West Virginia15 daysNo minimum, but up to 6 months$100-$500IID possible
Wisconsin6-9 months, if 2nd in 10 years: occupational license can be applied for in 45 days, if 2nd in 11+ years: occupational license can apply immediatelyNone, unless passenger under 16 in vehicle: 5 days-6 months$150-$300 +$365 OWI surchargeIID required for HBAC, alcohol assessment required, 6 points on license
Wyoming90 daysNo minimum, but up to 6 monthsNo minimum, but up to $750Substance Abuse Assessment required; IID required for 6 months if HBAC
Washington DC6 monthsNo minimum, but up to 90 days, if BAC .20-.25: mandatory 5 days. If BAC .25+: mandatory 10 daysUp to $300Alcohol Diversion Program possible if BAC <.16
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In the table, you can see the penalties for just the first offense; in each state, you face fines, prison time, revocations, and/or mandatory DUI classes. With every additional offense, the severity of these penalties increases.

Can a Cop Pull You Over for Suspicions About Driving Drunk?

To stop any motorist for a DUI offense, police officers must have reasonable suspension and probable cause. You can’t be stopped by a cop without any reason or arbitrarily for an alcohol test, except at certain checkpoints.

A reasonable suspension means that your actions (such as erratic driving or speeding) led the police officers to believe you were in violation of the DUI law. Probable cause is considered by the jury when they evaluate arrests for drunk driving. If there’s an objective belief that a motorist has committed a crime, there is probable cause.

Impact of Distracted Driving Laws

To reduce the impact of distracted driving, all states have been slowly implementing regulations to ensure that motorists focus their minds and eyes on driving while they’re behind the wheel. The most common legislation includes bans on texting and hand-held phone use, which have been enacted by a majority of states.

For certain motorist groups, such as teen drivers and school bus drivers, the distracted driving legislation is stricter and bans all cellphone use while driving.

In fact, most of the states are continuously updating their distracted driving laws by increasing penalties to reduce the number of violations. In 2017, the texting while driving penalty was increased to $300 from $50 in Colorado. Even Arkansas updated its texting ban to include social media use while driving.

But are these laws effective in combating distracted driving? 

As per a study published in 2014 by the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB), primary texting bans led to a 3 percent drop in accidents. Texting bans for young drivers were effective in bringing down fatalities by 11 percent.

For drivers above the age of 21, the most effective regulation was a ban on the use of hand-held devices. When you look at these results, you will notice that the effectiveness of a law is related to the type of ban enforced.

In another study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, it was found that the law’s effectiveness depended on two things — whether it was just a texting ban or a total hand-held phone ban and who was targeted by the ban.

  • In states where there’s a complete ban on hand-held phone use, around 55 percent fewer phone conversations were reported among teenage drivers.
  • Universal bans on all use of hand-held devices do impact the use of cellphones while driving for teenagers. However, texting bans aren’t really effective in discouraging teens from texting while driving.
  • Bans targeted at just young drivers weren’t effective in either reducing phone conversations or texting among this age group.

Usually, when there’s a universal hand-held phone ban, motorists forgo calling or texting because they can’t explain their behavior if caught. However, if there’s just a texting ban, they might make claims about using the phone for calling instead of texting when caught.

In addition, it’s simpler for police officers to enforce cellphone ban regulations if there’s a universal ban on the use of hand-held phones, as they will not be required to assess each case differently.

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Distracted Driving Among Teenagers

Young drivers with little experience are more likely to be involved in a fatal accident if they use a cellphone while driving. The likelihood of engaging in distracted driving is pretty high among teens, as they’re constantly using social media and watching videos on their phones these days.

As per the Journal of Adolescent Health, around 40 percent of teenage drivers have used their cellphone for texting or emailing while driving in the past 30 days.

  • In this survey cohort, around 38 percent of the young drivers said that they texted at least once, around 22 percent texted sometimes, while 16 percent of the drivers texted frequently.
  • Texting while driving among young drivers was highest in South Dakota and the lowest in Maryland. In Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wyoming, more than 50 percent of the teenagers reported texting or emailing at least once a day while driving in the past month.

Distracted Driving Laws for Teenagers

For novice drivers, cellphone use is completely banned across 39 states and Washington D.C. Because of the dangers associated with teenage distracted driving, most of the states have enacted strict laws to curtail this particular distraction.

Other than the restrictions on cellphone use, many states also have the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws to ensure the safety of everyone on the roads when teens start driving.

The GDL program divides driver training for teenagers into phases, i.e., learner stage, intermediate stage, and full privilege stage. During each stage, young drivers are required to abide by certain restrictions and avoid violations to progress to the next stage.

  • In the intermediate stage, 46 states and Washington D.C. restrict the number of passengers who can accompany a young driver in the car. Engaging in conversations with fellow passengers is one of the major causes of distracted driving accidents, and by restricting the number of passengers, lawmakers intend to help drivers stay focused on driving.
  • Young drivers are also required to be accompanied by a licensed driver above the age of 21 who can keep an eye on things.

When it comes to DUI laws for underage drivers, lawmakers have no tolerance for any trace of alcohol in a driving teenager’s system. It’s illegal to drink under age 21 anyway, and drinking and driving is particularly dangerous for inexperienced drivers.

The penalties for underage DUI can be pretty harsh and might include fines, license suspensions until the age of 21, vehicle impoundment, points on the individual’s driving record, community service, and imprisonment.

Teen Driver Safety

Distracted driving is the cause of six out of 10 serious accidents among teenagers. It’s important to talk to your children about staying focused when they’re behind the wheel; their life may depend on it. Drivers in the age group of 16-19 are much more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than drivers over the age of 20.

Studies show that only 25 percent of parents talk to their kids about safe driving habits. Many parents think their children understand they need to be safe on the road; however, you’d be surprised what kids get up to when they’re out with their friends. Have this conversation, even if you don’t think you need to.

  • Know the GDL laws in your state and make sure that your children are abiding by each one of them while they first start driving. A single violation at the learner’s or intermediate stage can ruin their record for a long time.
  • Being a good role model and avoiding distractions like cellphones goes a long way toward instilling the right behavior in your kids. No matter how important a call from your work might be, just avoid it while you’re driving with your kids.
  • You may also consider drawing out a parent-teen driving agreement to lay out the rules that you expect them to follow when they’re learning to drive.

Car Insurance Rates

If you’re involved in an accident or you get a ticket for distracted driving, your insurance company will take notice, as these increase the likelihood of a claim. If you’re caught time and again using your cellphone or drinking and driving, you might be categorized as a high-risk driver.

As a high-risk driver, it’s exceedingly difficult to get car insurance, especially at a reasonable rate.

Distracted Driving vs. Drunk Driving

Although both cellphone use while driving and drunk driving can be dangerous depending on the situation, DUI usually has harsher penalties because it’s considered riskier and claims more lives.

However, according to a survey by Cambridge Mobile Telematics, people are more afraid of distracted drivers than drunk drivers. That might just be the fear of people in this survey cohort, as the number of fatalities from drunk driving is much higher than distracted driving.

  • Distracted driving led to 3,166 fatalities in 2017, while drunk driving claims more than 10,000 lives in a year. By that number only, we can assess that drunk driving can be much more dangerous.
  • Distracted driving is, however, not easy to prove and each state has varying laws over the use of a cellphone while driving. Moreover, it’s difficult to track the number of accidents as a result of distracted driving because motorists may lie or believe their cellphone use was not the cause of an accident.
  • All the states have laws banning the consumption of alcohol before/while driving and police officers can enforce this law by checking the BAC levels of motorists. This makes it easier to record drunk driving crashes.

How does a Ticket/Violation Impact Car Insurance Rates

You might fight in court to reduce your penalties for DUI or using your cellphone while driving, but there’s one thing that you will not able to change — an increase in your car insurance premiums.

The moment a ticket or violation is reflected on your record, insurance companies consider you a potential risk for future accidents, and that impacts your rate now.

StateAccident/ViolationGeico MonthlyGeico 6-MonthGeico AnnualRate IncreaseProgressive
Rate IncreaseFarmers
Rate IncreaseNationwide
Rate Increase
CaliforniaCell Phone/Texting$212.25$1,273.48$2,546.9674.41%NANANANA$325.82$1,954.92$3,909.84100.54%NANANANA
CaliforniaClean Record$121.70$730.18$1,460.36N/A$147.00$882.00$1,764.00N/A$162.47$974.82$1,949.64N/A$108.53$651.19$1,302.38N/A
(12-24 Months)
FloridaCell Phone/Texting$151.20$907.20$1,814.407.15%NANANANA$426.60$2,559.60$5,119.200.00%----
FloridaClean Record$141.12$846.70$1,693.40N/A$167.17$1,003.00$2,006.00N/A$426.60$2,559.60$5,119.20N/ANot Available in FL---
(12-24 Months)
South CarolinaCell Phone/Texting$175.70$1,054.20$2,108.4013.49%NANANANA----NANANANA
South CarolinaClean Record$154.82$928.90$1,857.80N/A$89.17$535.00$1,070.00N/ANot Available in SC---$135.21$811.25$1,622.50N/A
South CarolinaDUI/DWI
(12-24 Months)
$196.73$1,180.40$2,360.8027.08%$117.33$704.00$1,408.0031.59%----No Quote
No Quote
No Quote
No Quote
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We have done some research to show you how distracted or drunk driving violations can impact your rates in three states — South Carolina, California, and Florida. Keeping the driver profile the same in every scenario, we have taken quotes from four insurance providers. This data clearly shows that DUI violations lead to higher rates, and if you’re in California, you will see a significant rise in premiums after any violation.

Distracted driving laws are constantly evolving with the intention to make the roads safer for everyone. Though prison time for texting might seem a little harsh, it’s for your own good, as taking your eyes or mind off of driving can be fatal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can speed cameras catch you on your phone?

None of the speed or red-light cameras are used to catch motorists using their cellphones as of now. However, a Maryland suburb is considering installing highway cameras to capture violators who use cellphones while driving. If implemented, this would be a first in the country.

Can law enforcement obtain cell phone records for someone who texted behind the wheel?

The simple answer is: police officers can obtain call records after an accident if there was evidence of distracted driving. Though it involves getting permission from the court, it’s not uncommon to search the phone records of motorists after major accidents.

Can a police officer check your phone to see if you were using it while driving?

Just like obtaining cellphone records, police officers need search permission to check your cellphone, but that usually doesn’t happen because of privacy laws. If they need information about your activities, they usually order a call record.

Can you get a ticket for texting at a red light?

It’s a gray area — some states clearly state that the vehicle must be in motion for a texting while driving violation, while other states don’t mention anything about a red-light stop. It’s always better to abstain from using your cellphone when you’re behind the wheel, no matter what.

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  1. https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2015/04/04/pkg-woman-fined-lipbalm-stoplight.klas
  2. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/08/08/nj-distracted-driving-bill-ban-motorists-drinking-coffee-road/88380406/
  3. https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-distracted-driving
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/index.html
  5. https://www.tubefilter.com/2018/10/04/watching-vlogging-youtube-while-driving/
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  7. https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving
  8. https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-alcohol-impaired-driving#Percent%20Of%20Drivers%20Involved%20In%20Fatal%20Crashes%20Impaired%20By%20Alcohol,%20By%20Age,%202008%20And%202017%20(1)
  9. https://www.etags.com/blog/most-strict-distracted-driving-laws/
  10. https://www.iihs.org/topics/distracted-driving/cellphone-use-laws#fn2
  11. https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/opinions/editorials/time-to-ban-texting-while-driving-statewide/article_e5681333-4fc7-5dcf-86b1-e96442a3f1ef.html
  12. https://extramile.thehartford.com/auto/driving/distracted-driving-premium/
  13. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/question-how-long-will-dui-dwi-33680.html
  14. https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/criminal/dui-dwi/what-is-probable-cause-or-reasonable-suspicion-for-a-dui-or-dwi-arrest.html
  15. https://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/state-and-federal-efforts-to-reduce-distracted-driving.aspx
  16. https://www.kansascityaccidentinjuryattorneys.com/blog/how-effective-are-texting-and-driving-laws.cfm
  17. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180221091341.htm
  18. https://www.aafp.org/news/health-of-the-public/20180928textndrive.html
  19. https://www.ghsa.org/state-laws/issues/teen%20and%20novice%20drivers
  20. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/phones-friends-are-distracting-problem-teen-drivers-n329806
  21. https://www.attorneys.com/dui-dwi/punishment-for-underage-dui
  22. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/teen/safety/Pages/Behind-the-Wheel-Helping-Teens-Become-Safe-Drivers.aspx
  23. https://www.cdc.gov/parentsarethekey/agreement/index.html
  24. https://www.cmtelematics.com/blog/distracted-driving-vs-drunk-driving-fear-solutions/
  25. https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving
  26. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/innovative-or-creepy-maryland-suburb-considers-cameras-to-catch-drivers-on-their-phones/2019/12/05/32b4e8d8-16dc-11ea-a659-7d69641c6ff7_story.html

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