We all know the feeling of getting into a car and having the itch to check our phones. It happens to all of us, and some are better than others about 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 in front of you. So, what’s the legal way to text and drive? Well, it depends.
Your State Decides
So far, the federal government hasn’t issued a ruling 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, then head to Montana, where you can also 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 the age of 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. Make sure you never speed; you will have to taketo dismiss the ticket.
Your Next Move
As far as legally texting and driving, the above states are basically the only ones who grant you a rite of passage. If you were hoping more states let you legally text and drive, then you’re sorely mistaken. Everywhere else has some type of ban. Many states restrict you from even holding a cell phone at all: 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 to me 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 that you’re on your way is taking up far more brainpower than you think it is.
Most people think that they’re totally within their right to use a cell phone if they’re using a Bluetooth device instead of holding it up to their ear. 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 it comes to determining your level of fault. It should be noted that it will be doubtful that you’ll 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: there are many ways we depend on our phones, making them extremely difficult to put down. If you can’t keep your hands to yourself, it’s probably best to put them in your trunk. Even if you need it for directions, you’re still better off pulling over somewhere safe and looking up where to go next only when you’re able to devote your full attention. The best way to legally text and drive is not to do it at all.