North Dakota’s Cellphone-Use & Texting-While-Driving Laws

Read about North Dakota’s distracted driving laws and the costs of a texting or cellphone ticket.

North Dakota’s distracted driving laws prohibit all motorists from text messaging while driving. The restrictions on using a cellphone while driving depend on the age of the motorist and where the motorist is driving. This article goes through the specifics of what the laws prohibit and the costs and other consequences of a texting or cellphone ticket.

Talking and Texting for Underage Drivers

Motorists who are under the age of 18 are prohibited from using an electronic communication device to talk or compose, read, or send an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle that’s in motion. In other words, these drivers aren’t allowed to use a cellphone or other electronic communication device for any purpose while driving.

Exceptions. An underage driver is permitted to use an electronic communication device to obtain emergency assistance:

  • to prevent a crime about to be committed, or
  • based on a reasonable belief that someone’s life or safety is in jeopardy.

Penalties. An underage cellphone or texting violation carries a $20 fine. And for drivers who are under 16 years old, the violation will also lead to four demerit points.

Text Messaging

North Dakota law makes it illegal for all drivers to use a wireless communication device to compose, read, or send an electronic message. The texting ban applies while a motorist has the car actually in motion and at temporary stops. In other words, you can get a texting ticket even if you’re stopped at a red light or stop sign while composing or reading the message.

Exceptions: North Dakota’s texting restriction contains a number of exceptions. These include using a device:

  • to input, select, or read information on a GPS or navigation system
  • to read, select, or enter text to initiate or receive a phone call
  • to obtain emergency assistance, or
  • in hands-free or voice-operated mode.

Fines. A texting violation carries a $100 fine in North Dakota.

Other Possible Charges

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


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