New Hampshire’s Cellphone-Use & Texting-While-Driving Laws

Read about New Hampshire’s distracted driving laws and the costs of a violation.

New Hampshire’s distracted driving law prohibits all motorists from using a handheld cellphone or other device to text message or talk while driving. This article covers the specifics of the laws and the costs of a texting or cellphone ticket.

Texting and Talking on a Phone

New Hampshire’s distracted driving law makes it illegal for all motorists to drive while using a handheld mobile electronic device to:

  • read, compose, view, or post an electronic message
  • initiate, receive, or conduct a call
  • initiate or request access to the Internet
  • input information into a GPS or navigation system
  • manually type data.

Drivers who are caught with their phone in the immediate proximity to their ear are presumed to have been engaged in a call.

Driving. For purposes of the distracted driving law, “driving” includes being actually in motion and at temporary stops for reasons such as traffic, stop signs, and red lights. However, this definition doesn’t include being behind the controls of a vehicle that’s pulled to the side of or off the road and legally parked.

Exceptions. The distracted driving law doesn’t apply to:

  • device use for contacting emergency services, such as police, the fire department, 9-1-1, or an emergency medical provider
  • use of one hand to use a two-way, non-cellular radio
  • hands-free technologies, or
  • perform acts required by an ignition interlock device (IID).

Penalties. Distracted driving violations carry a $100 fine for a first violation, a $250 fine for a second violation within 24 months, and a $500 fine for a third or subsequent violation within 24 months. Violators will also have to pay penalty assessments.

Restrictions for Underage Drivers

Underage motorists (those under the age of 18) are completely prohibited from using a cellphone or other electronic device while driving. In other words, it doesn’t matter if the underage motorist is using hands-free technology. The only exception to this rule is for reporting emergencies.

Penalties. Underage distracted driving violations carry a $100 fine for a first violation, a $250 fine for a second violation within 24 months, and a $500 fine for a third or subsequent violation within 24 months. And all violations come with penalty assessments. The underage motorist may also face license suspension or revocation.

Other Possible Charges

Depending on the circumstances, a texting or cellphone violation could also lead to a reckless or negligent driving conviction. And if one of these offense results in the death of another person, vehicular homicide charges are a possibility.

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