Countries That Ban Cell Phones While Driving

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This page lists those countries that have banned the use of a cell phone when driving unless used with some form of hands-free kit.

Country Listing (USA in separate table at the bottom)

CountryBannedNotes
AustraliaYesBanned in all states - fines vary though.
AustriaYesFines vary - up to US$22 per incident
BahrainYesOffenders face fines - possibly prison
BelgiumYesPhones can be used without a hands-free unit when the car is stationary - but not while in traffic (such as at traffic lights)
BrazilYesBan imposed Jan. 2001
BotswanaBeing debatedThe attorney general is drafting the legislation
CanadaVariableBanned in Newfoundland (Dec2002) fines up to C$180 - Banned in Québec (Apr 2008) fines up to C$100.
ChileYes
ChinaYesReported to be covered by general "good driving practice" legislation.
Czech RepublicYes
DenmarkYesBan imposed July 1998 - US$60 fine for infringements
EgyptYesFines of about US$100 per offence.
FinlandYesBan imposed January 2003 - US$55 fine for infringements
FranceYesBanned 2003, EUR40 fine per infraction
GermanyYesBan imposed Feb. 2001 - usage allowed without a hands-free unit only when the engine is switched off. Fine of €40 per infraction
GreeceYes
Hong KongYes
HungaryYesNot often implemented by the police
India - New DelhiYesNew Delhi - Ban extended to ban all use of cell phones when driving, including use with a hands-free unit - July 2001
Andhra Pradesh - Ban now enforced with prison sentences
IrelandYesBanned, with a US$380 and/or up to 3 months imprisonment on a third offence. Handsfree kits allowed, although that is subject to review.
Isle of ManYesBanned since July 2000
IsraelYes
ItalyYesFines of up to US$124 per infraction
JapanYesBan imposed Nov. 1999
JerseyYesBan imposed Feb. 1998
JordanYesBan imposed Oct. 2001
KenyaYesBan imposed late 2001
MalaysiaYes
MexicoPartialBan in Mexico City
NetherlandsYesFines up to €2,000 or two weeks in jail
New ZealandBeing debatedUnder debate - consultation being sought from interested parties
NorwayYesFines of over $600 per infraction
PakistanPartialBanned in Islamabad
PhilippinesYes
PolandYesFine of PLN200 ($100) - can be higher if contested.
PortugalYes
RomaniaYes
RussiaYesBan imposed by Prime Minister - March 2001
SingaporeYes
Slovak RepublicYes
SloveniaYes
South AfricaYes
South KoreaYesBan imposed July 2001 - US$47 fine + 15 points on the license.
SpainYes
SwedenNo
SwitzerlandYes
TaiwanYesIf the driver is using a reflective screen on the car, local privacy laws forbid stopping the car for violating the ban.
ThailandYesBill proposed in May 2000
TurkeyYes
TurkmenistanYesSigned into law with effect from May 1st 2003, by President Saparmyrat Turkmenbasy
UKYesBanned from December 2003
ZimbabweYesBan imposed in Sept 2001, announced via official news agency only though, so not confirmed

USA states breakdown

StateBanned?Notes
AlabamaNo
AlaskaNo
ArkansasPartialSchool bus drivers are banned from using a cell phone. Ban on drivers under 18yrs proposed.
ArizonaPartialA bill to introduce a ban was lost by a 4-3 vote in the Senate Transportation Committee. Bus drivers are banned from using a cell phone
CaliforniaYesBeginning July 1, 2008, violators face a US$20 fine for a first offense and a US$50 ticket for subsequent infractions. Law passed Sept 2007 bans all under-18s from using a phone at all, even with handsfree kit. Text messaging while driving (inc emails) banned with effect from Jan 1st 2009.
ColoradoNoTeens with restricted licenses are banned - but can only be stopped for another violation first
ConnecticutYesBanned with effect from Oct. 2005 - teens are also forbidden from using handsfree kits while moving
DelawareNoA driver can already be prosecuted for "inattentive driving" - which can include using a cell phone. Studies into the issue have been requested
District of ColumbiaYesBanned from July 2004
FloridaPartialState Attorney General said that cities can set local regulations - July 2001. Overturned by Governor Bush..
GeorgiaPartialSchool bus drivers banned from using cell phones while driving. DeKalb County has fines when crashes can be attributed to driving while using a cellphone.
HawaiiPartialBanned in Oahu from 1st July - US$67 fine for first infraction.
IdahoNo
IllinoisPartialSchool bus drivers are banned - Chicago and Gary City Council have passed local laws banning driving without a hands-free kit.
IndianaNoBan proposed by State Sen. Rose Antich Carr - Jan 2004
IowaBeing debated
KansasNoBill to introduce ban failed in 2000
KentuckyNo
LouisianaPartialTeenagers and new drivers are banned - all drivers banned from text messaging only.
MainePartialMinors and those on learner driving licenses may not use a cell phone while driving
MarylandNoBill to ban dropped Feb. 2001. New proposal in the House, proposed by Delegates Arnick and Mandel
MassachusettsPartialBill for most users pending - but bus drivers already banned. Drivers required to keep at least one hand on the steering wheel while holding a phone.
MichiganNo
MinnesotaPartialTeenagers and provisional drivers are banned - $100 fine plus delays in license upgrades for offenders
MississippiNoLegislation prevents local councils enacting their own ban.
MissouriNo
MontanaNo
NebraskaNoBill planned by State Sen. Jim Cudaback - Jan 2004
NevadaNoState bill to introduce ban failed April 1999. Local bill in Clark County also blocked Nov. 2001. Nevada state passed bill banning local regulations, March 2003.
New HampshirePartialNot explicitly banned, but you can be prosecuted if using a cellphone when involved in an driving accident.
New JerseyYesBanned from 2004, updated from March 2008 - fine US$100. Bill extended June 2008 to include text messaging.
New MexicoPartialBeing debated - local ban in the cities of Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Taos, and Las Vegas
New YorkYesBan effective from Nov. 2001
North CarolinaBeing debatedStudy into the effects of cell phone usage while driving being carried out.
North DakotaBeing debatedBill proposed by Sen. Harvey Tallackson, D-Grafton, Feb 2005
OhioPartialThe City of Cleveland is discussing a ban. Ban in place in Brooklyn.
OklahomaNoBill to introduce ban failed in May 1999. Legislation prevents local councils enacting their own ban.
OregonPartialBan applies to teenagers only. 
PennsylvaniaPartialLocal cities have their own laws - state legislation pending
Rhode IslandNoGovernor Almond rejected a ban - July 2001. School buses are banned from using a cell phone. Proposal for a ban being debated, April 2004.
South CarolinaPartialBill to ban holders of a beginner's permit, conditional or special restricted driver's license passed by House committee, April 2008
South DakotaNo
TennesseePartialSchool buses are banned from using a cell phone
TexasNoSenate Bill 154 proposed. If passed would come into effect from 2008. A previous attempt in 2005 failed
UtahNoBill to introduce ban failed March 1998. Highland city planning a ban - Feb 2005
VermontNo
VirginiaPartialBill banning minors passed Jan 2005. Bill banning 16-17yr olds with conditional licenses passed March 2007
WashingtonYesBan imposed, to come into effect from July 2008. Driving while sending text messages separately banned with effect from Jan 1st 2008
West VirginiaNoBill proposed in 1999, but never debated
WisconsinNoBill to introduce ban failed in April 1998. Bill to ban younger drivers only being debated.
WyomingNoBill proposed by Rep. Floyd Esquibel but not debated

 

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