How Much Does Your State Fine For Texting and Driving?

It could be anywhere from $20 to $10,000 for a first-time offender—or no ban at all.


The good news: fatal car crashes are on the decline. The bad news: fatal car crashes involving cell phone use—anything from texting to talking to reaching for a ringing phone—are on the riseIn fact, the leading cause of death for teenage drivers is now texting, not drinking, with nearly a dozen teens dying each day in a texting-related car crash. Stark figures like this have driven 46 states to pass legislation banning texting and driving. But texting fines vary wildly across the country, and you’ll end up paying a little or a lot depending on where you got caught. 

In California, the maximum penalty for a first-time offender is just $20, the lowest in the country, while Alaska will slap you with a whopping $10,000 fine and a year in prison. Meanwhile, some states don’t allow cops to pull drivers over for texting, but can impose a texting fine on top of another penalty, like speeding. Confused yet? Keep your eyes on the road: we’ve rounded up maximum first-offense fines for fully licensed drivers in each state (jump down to see the full table), along with a few more sobering stats on using your phone while behind the wheel. Remember: local laws may apply even if there’s no statewide ban where you’re driving, but to be safe—literally—just don’t text and drive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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