Document Type


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School of Public Health


Injury Control Research Center


Objectives: While numerous cell phone use while driving laws have been passed among states, little information exists regarding who gets cited for these traffic infractions and how much these laws are enforced at the state-level within the USA.

Design: Cross-sectional, descriptive study.

Setting: 14 states and the District of Columbia.

Participants: Those receiving cell phone use while driving citations within included states from 2007 to 2013.

Primary outcome: Demographic characteristics of cited drivers were assessed. Rates of infractions per 100 000 licensed in-state drivers per year for various cell phone use while driving violations were calculated.

Results: Drivers were cited for hand-held use violations (n=2.5 million) more than texting (n=14 682) or young driver all cell phone bans (n=342). Among states that provided data for all traffic violations, cell phone use while driving citations comprised 1% of all written citations. Regardless of ban type, males (68.2%) were cited more frequently than females. Drivers 25–64 years of age (90.8%) were more likely to be cited for hand-held phone use. The average yearly rate of infractions per 100 000 licensed in-state drivers from 2010–2013 was 5.8 for texting bans, 2607 for hand-held bans, and 9954 for any traffic violation.

Conclusions: Among cited drivers, age and sex differences existed by the type of ban violated. State-level enforcement appeared sparse. Due to the potential serious consequences of cell phone use while driving in the USA, more enforcement and targeted public safety campaigns are likely needed.

Source Citation

Rudisill, T. M., & Zhu, M. (2016). Who actually receives cell phone use while driving citations and how much are these laws enforced among states? A descriptive, cross-sectional study. BMJ Open, 6(6), e011381.


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