Texting-while-driving: What you can and can't do


While driving a car, you CAN'T:

•Write, send or read a "text-based communication," which is defined as text message, instant message, email or other written communication, according to the state Department of Transportation website.

But you CAN:

•Do anything on your phone that doesn't fall into the above definition.

•Send or read texts while your car is on but stopped, either on the side of the road or at a red light, for example. Note: this doesn't apply to commercial vehicles.

•Use a GPS device.

If they pull you over, police CAN'T:

•Seize your phone, or force you to let them look at it or show them what you were doing on it.

But police CAN:

•Pull you over any time they suspect you're texting while driving. This is a primary offense, rather than a secondary offense such as seat belt use, for which they can only cite you if they've pulled you over for something else.


•A texting-while-driving citation results in a $50 fine but adds no points on your license and doesn't show up on your record.