Laws, Regulations & Programs

Distracted driving

Cell phone bans

Because distracted driving is unsafe, a jurisdiction-wide ban on driving while talking on a hand-held cell phone is in place in nine states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Utah and Washington) and in the District of Columbia.

Local jurisdictions may or may not need specific state statutory authority to ban cell phones. Locations that have enacted restrictions on cell phone use include: Oahu, Hawaii; Chicago, Ill.; Brookline, Mass.; Detroit, Mich.; Santa Fe, N.M.; Brooklyn, North Olmstead and Walton Hills, Ohio; Conshohocken, Lebanon and West Conshohocken, Pa.; Waupaca County, Wis.; and Cheyenne, Wyo.

The use of all cell phones while driving a school bus is prohibited in 19 states and the District of Columbia. The use of all cell phones by novice drivers is restricted in 28 states and the District of Columbia.

Text messaging is banned for all drivers in 30 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, novice drivers are banned from texting in eight states (Alabama, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia) and school bus drivers are banned from text messaging in Oklahoma and Texas.

FMCSA research shows that drivers who send and receive text messages take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds while texting. At 55 mph, this means the driver is traveling the length of a football field, including the end zones, without looking at the road.

For more information, please click here.
*Information provided by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute.

FMCSA: u txt, u lose...

Effective Oct. 27, 2010, texting by commercial motor vehicle drivers while operating in interstate commerce will be prohibited. The new federal regulation states that drivers who fail to comply will face civil penalties and loose their CDL license, as well as the possibility of being convicted under State and local traffic laws and ordinances.

The objective of the new regulation is to increase highway safety by reducing the chance of truck-related crashes, fatalities and injuries associated with distracted driving. Research has shown that drivers who text while drive are 23.2 times more likely to be in a crash compared to those who do not.

For more information about the FMCSA texting ban, please click here.


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented the Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the FMCSA’s enforcement and compliance program. With CSA, the FMCSA, together with state and industry partners, will work to further reduce commercial vehicle (CMV) crashes, fatalities and injuries on our nation's highways. The program will not only overhaul the way the FMCSA assesses carrier safety, but it will bring substantial changes to carriers, drivers and end consumers. To read more about CSA, please visit the FMCSA's website by clicking here.

Vehicle idling legislation

To read about state and local vehicle idling laws, please click here. This document is composed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is for reference purposes only; please refer to the actual laws for requirements and compliance. This compilation may not include every state or local law, and you should enquire about your own jurisdiction's regulations on idling. For more information on state and local idling reduction laws, please visit the SmartWay℠ Transport Partnership website by clicking here.

No-Zone campaign

In 1994, the Federal Highway Administration (now under the direction of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)) introduced the "No-Zone" or "Share the Road" Program to educate the driving public about how to safely share the road with trucks and buses. Its goal is to increase awareness of the No-Zones, which are danger areas like blind spots around commercial vehicles, where cars "disappear" from the view of the truck or bus driver. No-Zones are areas where crashes are more likely to occur. For more information about the No-Zone campaign, click here.

Importance of wearing seat belts

There are numerous initiatives that encourage seatbelt use, including the Click It or Ticket Program. Click It or Ticket is a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration enforcement campaign aimed at increasing the use of seat belts among people in the U.S. Click It or Ticket is the most successful seat belt enforcement campaign ever, helping to create the highest national seat belt usage rate of 83 percent. Coast to coast, day or night, the message is simple - Click It or Ticket.

Safety belt tips

  • Always take time to buckle up.
    It takes less than 3 seconds to buckle up. Even at 20 times a day, that's less than a minute.
  • Remember, wearing a safety belt isn't an option; it's the law.
    Federal regulations require commercial vehicle drivers to buckle up, and most states now require passenger vehicle drivers to do the same.
  • Don't think because you are in a large truck or an SUV that you have enough protection.
    Safety belts are proven to prevent serious and fatal injuries among drivers and their occupants when involved in a crash.
  • Wear safety belts, even when driving at a slow speed.
    In a crash at 30 mph, an unbelted person will hit the windshield at the same velocity of a person falling to the ground from the top of a three-story building.
  • Improve your chances of survival in the event of a crash.
    Should your vehicle crash, safety belts can keep you from being knocked unconscious, improving your chances of escape and survival.
  • Safety belts prevent you from being ejected from your vehicle.
    Drivers and occupants are more likely to die when thrown from a vehicle.