North Dakota’s Laws for Texting and Talking on a Phone While Driving

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 cell phone 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 cell phone ticket.

North Dakota's Ban on Text Messaging While Driving

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 to ND's Texting Restriction

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.

Although these exceptions don't come up very often, when they do apply, a driver can use them as a defense to a texting ticket.

Fines for a ND Distracted Driving Ticket

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

Talking and Texting for Underage North Dakota 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 cell phone or other electronic communication device for any purpose while driving.

Exceptions to ND's Underage Distracted Driving Law

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.

As you might imagine, these exceptions don't come up very often.

Fines and Points for Underage Distracted Driving Tickets in ND

An underage cell phone 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.

Other Possible Charges Related to Distracted Driving

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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