We all know the feeling of getting into a car and having the itch to check our phones. It happens to all of us; some are better than others at tuning out that ever-persistent urge. If you’ve ever texted while you were driving, you may need to . Along with messing with the radio for too long or trying to find your headphones that fell under the seat, it distracts you from what’s happening right before you. So, what’s the legal way to text and drive? Well, it depends.
Your State Decides
So far, the federal government hasn’t ruled about texting and driving (though that doesn’t mean they never will.) Right now, it’s your state that tells you what to do. If you’re dying to text legally, head to Montana, where you can talk, play YouTube videos, look up directions, etc. If you don’t drive a school bus (which we’re betting you don’t), you can head to Arizona. If you’re over the age of 21, then you can text in Missouri too. If you’re not traveling with passengers under 17 and are over 18 in the state of Texas, you can also feel free to whip out your cell phone to send a text in the Lone Star state. Ensure you never speed; you must take to dismiss the ticket.
Your Next Move
Regarding legally texting and driving, the above states are the only ones who grant you a rite of passage. If you were hoping more conditions let you honestly text and drive, you’re sorely mistaken. Everywhere else has some ban. Many states restrict you from holding a cell phone: Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Hawaii, California, and Illinois aim to keep you as concentrated as possible. So, what happens when you’re still dying to text while you drive? Well, you might be able to get away with voice-activated texting, so you never actually touch the phone. However, it seems that this method isn’t necessarily safer than when you pick up the phone and stare at it. This means that letting your friend know you’re on your way takes up far more brainpower than you think.
Most people think they’re within their right to use a cell phone if they use Bluetooth instead of holding it up to their ears. However, this may not even be the case in some states. In highly regulated areas like California, if you happen to cause an accident while you were talking on the phone, it may be considered when determining your level of fault. It should be noted that you are unlikely to be pulled over just for talking to your sister. After all, you can always say you were singing on the radio or having an intimate discussion with yourself.
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Put the Phone in Your Trunk
Let’s face it: we depend on our phones in many ways, making them extremely difficult to put down. If you can’t keep your hands to yourself, putting them in your trunk is probably best. Even if you need it for directions, you’re better off pulling over somewhere safe and looking up where to go next only when you can devote your full attention. The best way to legally text and drive is not to do it.