Countries that ban cell phones while driving


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)

 

Country Banned Notes
Australia Yes Banned in all states - fines vary though.
Austria Yes Fines vary - up to US$22 per incident
Bahrain Yes Offenders face fines - possibly prison
Belgium Yes Phones can be used without a hands-free unit when the car is stationary - but not while in traffic (such as at traffic lights)
Brazil Yes Ban imposed Jan. 2001
Botswana Being debated The attorney general is drafting the legislation
Canada Variable Banned in Newfoundland (Dec2002) fines up to C$180 - Banned in Québec (Apr 2008) fines up to C$100.
Chile Yes  
China Yes Reported to be covered by general "good driving practice" legislation.
Czech Republic Yes  
Denmark Yes Ban imposed July 1998 - US$60 fine for infringements
Egypt Yes Fines of about US$100 per offence.
Finland Yes Ban imposed January 2003 - US$55 fine for infringements
France Yes Banned 2003, EUR40 fine per infraction
Germany Yes Ban imposed Feb. 2001 - usage allowed without a hands-free unit only when the engine is switched off. Fine of €40 per infraction
Greece Yes  
Hong Kong Yes  
Hungary Yes Not often implemented by the police
India - New Delhi Yes New 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

Ireland Yes Banned, 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 Man Yes Banned since July 2000
Israel Yes  
Italy Yes Fines of up to US$124 per infraction
Japan Yes Ban imposed Nov. 1999
Jersey Yes Ban imposed Feb. 1998
Jordan Yes Ban imposed Oct. 2001
Kenya Yes Ban imposed late 2001
Malaysia Yes  
Mexico Partial Ban in Mexico City
Netherlands Yes Fines up to €2,000 or two weeks in jail
New Zealand Being debated Under debate - consultation being sought from interested parties
Norway Yes Fines of over $600 per infraction
Pakistan Partial Banned in Islamabad
Philippines Yes  
Poland Yes Fine of PLN200 ($100) - can be higher if contested.
Portugal Yes  
Romania Yes  
Russia Yes Ban imposed by Prime Minister - March 2001
Singapore Yes  
Slovak Republic Yes  
Slovenia Yes  
South Africa Yes  
South Korea Yes Ban imposed July 2001 - US$47 fine + 15 points on the license.
Spain Yes  
Sweden No  
Switzerland Yes  
Taiwan Yes If the driver is using a reflective screen on the car, local privacy laws forbid stopping the car for violating the ban.
Thailand Yes Bill proposed in May 2000
Turkey Yes  
Turkmenistan Yes Signed into law with effect from May 1st 2003, by President Saparmyrat Turkmenbasy
UK Yes Banned from December 2003
Zimbabwe Yes Ban imposed in Sept 2001, announced via official news agency only though, so not confirmed

 

USA states breakdown

 

State Banned? Notes
Alabama No  
Alaska No  
Arkansas Partial School bus drivers are banned from using a cell phone. Ban on drivers under 18yrs proposed.
Arizona Partial A 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
California Yes Beginning 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.
Colorado No Teens with restricted licenses are banned - but can only be stopped for another violation first
Connecticut Yes Banned with effect from Oct. 2005 - teens are also forbidden from using handsfree kits while moving
Delaware No A driver can already be prosecuted for "inattentive driving" - which can include using a cell phone. Studies into the issue have been requested
District of Columbia Yes Banned from July 2004
Florida Partial State Attorney General said that cities can set local regulations - July 2001. Overturned by Governor Bush..
Georgia Partial School bus drivers banned from using cell phones while driving. DeKalb County has fines when crashes can be attributed to driving while using a cellphone.
Hawaii Partial Banned in Oahu from 1st July - US$67 fine for first infraction.
Idaho No  
Illinois Partial School bus drivers are banned - Chicago and Gary City Council have passed local laws banning driving without a hands-free kit.
Indiana No Ban proposed by State Sen. Rose Antich Carr - Jan 2004
Iowa Being debated  
Kansas No Bill to introduce ban failed in 2000
Kentucky No  
Louisiana Partial Teenagers and new drivers are banned - all drivers banned from text messaging only.
Maine Partial Minors and those on learner driving licenses may not use a cell phone while driving
Maryland No Bill to ban dropped Feb. 2001. New proposal in the House, proposed by Delegates Arnick and Mandel
Massachusetts Partial Bill 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.
Michigan No  
Minnesota Partial Teenagers and provisional drivers are banned - $100 fine plus delays in license upgrades for offenders
Mississippi No Legislation prevents local councils enacting their own ban.
Missouri No  
Montana No  
Nebraska No Bill planned by State Sen. Jim Cudaback - Jan 2004
Nevada No State 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 Hampshire Partial Not explicitly banned, but you can be prosecuted if using a cellphone when involved in an driving accident.
New Jersey Yes Banned from 2004, updated from March 2008 - fine US$100. Bill extended June 2008 to include text messaging.
New Mexico Partial Being debated - local ban in the cities of Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Taos, and Las Vegas
New York Yes Ban effective from Nov. 2001
North Carolina Being debated Study into the effects of cell phone usage while driving being carried out.
North Dakota Being debated Bill proposed by Sen. Harvey Tallackson, D-Grafton, Feb 2005
Ohio Partial The City of Cleveland is discussing a ban. Ban in place in Brooklyn.
Oklahoma No Bill to introduce ban failed in May 1999. Legislation prevents local councils enacting their own ban.
Oregon Partial Ban applies to teenagers only. 
Pennsylvania Partial Local cities have their own laws - state legislation pending
Rhode Island No Governor Almond rejected a ban - July 2001. School buses are banned from using a cell phone. Proposal for a ban being debated, April 2004.
South Carolina Partial Bill to ban holders of a beginner's permit, conditional or special restricted driver's license passed by House committee, April 2008
South Dakota No  
Tennessee Partial School buses are banned from using a cell phone
Texas No Senate Bill 154 proposed. If passed would come into effect from 2008. A previous attempt in 2005 failed
Utah No Bill to introduce ban failed March 1998. Highland city planning a ban - Feb 2005
Vermont No  
Virginia Partial Bill banning minors passed Jan 2005. Bill banning 16-17yr olds with conditional licenses passed March 2007
Washington Yes Ban imposed, to come into effect from July 2008. Driving while sending text messages separately banned with effect from Jan 1st 2008
West Virginia No Bill proposed in 1999, but never debated
Wisconsin No Bill to introduce ban failed in April 1998. Bill to ban younger drivers only being debated.
Wyoming No Bill proposed by Rep. Floyd Esquibel but not debated

Information is understood to be correct at the time of going to press - please notify us of any oversights by using the contact us option.

Last update 6th June 2009