The fines for texting and driving can be expensive. In many states, the fine is $100 or more for the first offense. Alaska can charge up to $10,000! Of course, the penalties for texting while driving don’t stop at traffic ticket fines. You also can expect court costs, driver license points or suspension, increased car insurance rates, and even prison time.
Dangers of Texting While Driving
Texting while driving is a form of distracted driving. When you text and drive, you’re distracted:
- Visually: You aren’t looking at the road.
- Manually: You don’t have both hands on the wheel.
- Cognitively: You aren’t focused on safe driving.
Despite knowing that texting and driving is dangerous, you still might find yourself checking your phone and maybe even responding to a text every now and then. It can’t be that dangerous if you only do it once in a while, right?
Wrong. Understanding facts about texting and driving will help drive home this reality.
For example, according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017:
- 3,166 people were killed in distraction-affected crashes.
- 2,935 distraction-affected fatal crashes.
- These account for 9 percent of all fatal crashes in the nation.
Just in case that danger to your life isn’t threatening enough, if you get caught texting and driving you face steep fines and court costs, driver license points or suspension, increased auto insurance rates, and even prison time.
Texting and Driving Fines by State
It’s illegal for all drivers to text and drive in 48 states and Washington, D.C., and in most of those states, getting caught isn’t cheap.
We’ve outlined the average ticket fines for texting while driving. Keep in mind, these averages are for first offenses only and states can change their fines for texting and driving at any time. Also, these costs cover only the fines, not the additional court costs.
|Alabama||Up to $25|
|Alaska||Up to $10,000|
|Arizona||Up to $150|
|Arkansas||Up to $100|
|California||Up to $25|
|Colorado||Up to $50|
|Connecticut||Up to $125|
|Delaware||Up to $50|
|Florida||Up to $30|
|Georgia||Up to $150|
|Hawaii||Up to $300|
|Idaho||Up to $85|
|Illinois||Up to $75|
|Indiana||Up to $100|
|Iowa||Up to $1,000|
|Kansas||Up to $60|
|Kentucky||Up to $25|
|Louisiana||Up to $175|
|Maine||Up to $100|
|Maryland||Up to $100|
|Massachusetts||Up to $100|
|Michigan||Up to $100|
|Minnesota||Up to $225|
|Mississippi||Up to $100|
|Missouri||Up to $200*|
|Montana||Up to $50|
|Nebraska||Up to $200|
|Nevada||Up to $50|
|New Hampshire||Up to $100|
|New Jersey||Up to $400|
|New Mexico||Up to $25|
|New York||Up to $200|
|North Carolina||Up to $100|
|North Dakota||Up to $100|
|Ohio||Up to $150|
|Oklahoma||Up to $100|
|Oregon||Up to $500|
|Pennsylvania||Up to $50|
|Rhode Island||Up to $85|
|South Carolina||Up to $25|
|South Dakota||Up to $100|
|Tennessee||Up to $50|
|Texas||Up to $100|
|Utah||Up to $750|
|Vermont||Up to $100|
|Virginia||Up to $125|
|Washington||Up to $125|
|West Virginia||Up to $100|
|Wisconsin||Up to $400|
|Wyoming||Up to $75|
*Drivers younger than 21 years old, commercial drivers, and school bus drivers are banned from texting and driving.
Additional Texting and Driving Costs and Penalties
Traffic ticket fines for texting and driving can be expensive enough on their own, but they’re not the only penalties you face.
When you’re pulled over for texting and driving, you also:
- Must pay court costs.
- Most states charge court costs, even if you don’t challenge your traffic ticket in court and just send in the fine payment.
- Face driver license points or suspension.
- This depends on your state’s texting and driving laws, as well as the severity of your violation.
- Are looking at increased car insurance rates.
- Might face jail or prison time.
Understand that certain factors affect the severity of your penalties. For example, if this is not your first offense texting and driving, or if you cause an accident or even death while texting and driving, it’s likely your penalties will be much more expensive and severe.
Given the potential financial burden and damage to your driver’s license status and driving record — not to mention the possibility of prison time and death — there is no text important enough to read or send while you’re driving.