States With Strictest Texting-While-Driving Laws Ranked

States With Strictest Texting-While-Driving Laws Ranked

November 11, 2019 Road Safety
Oregon and Illinois top the list of states with the strictest texting-while-driving laws. - Photo via U.S. Air Force.
Oregon and Illinois top the list of states with the strictest texting-while-driving laws. (Photo via U.S. Air Force.)

Oregon secures the position of the strictest state for texting while driving with a maximum fine of $1,000 for the offense, which is 10 times the median fine in the U.S., according to a recent study from Rosenblum Law.

However, Oregon doesn’t use a point system so while violators are hit in the wallet, they won’t necessarily have their license suspended.

Easily the second-strictest state, Utah will fine drivers as much as $750 for a first offense of texting behind the wheel. In addition, the offense carries 50 points; those who accrue 200 points in three years can have their license suspended.

Illinois ranks third — hitting drivers where it hurts most as opposed to in their pocketbooks. While the $75 penalty may seem mild, a conviction for texting means 10 points on a license. What’s more, the state can suspend a license that accrues 15 or more points over a 4-year period — making Illinois the state most likely to suspend a license for texting.

Wisconsin ranks fourth for being tough on texting. A texting ticket in the state can set drivers back as much as $400. It will also result in four points on a license, and Wisconsin can suspend any license with 12 or more points on it.

Alaska can be pretty cold when it comes to drivers who text — taking the fifth spot for strictest state. In fact, Alaska previously had the most aggressive anti-texting laws on the books, charging drivers with a misdemeanor criminal offense.

In 2016, Alaska changed texting behind the wheel to a moving violation with a fine of up to $500 and two points on one’s license. A driver who reaches 12 points in 12 months or 18 points in 24 months can have a license suspended.

The top five most lenient states for texting include Montana, which imposes no fine and no points, followed by California with a $20 fine, New Mexico ($25), South Carolina ($25), and Iowa ($30). None of these states give motorists points on their license for texting behind the wheel.

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