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Understanding distracted driving law in North Carolina

There are numerous opportunities for distraction when you're behind the wheel. Your kids screaming in the back seat, the hot coffee in your cup holder, even the disturbing story on the radio. However, in the years since cell phones--and in particular smart phones--became commonplace, the potential for distraction has become virtually limitless. Your phone is now a source of news and entertainment, and it keeps you apprised of all of your friends' activity on social media.

With this advance in technology has come heightened danger on the road. In the last decade, the numbers of crashes resulting from distracted driving has skyrocketed. Many states have taken legal action to help curb this trend. In today's post, we examine North Carolina's laws against distracted driving:

North Carolina law

This piece of legislation is commonly referred to as a texting ban, but the prohibitions actually extend beyond texting. Under the law, it is illegal to write a text message or compose any form of electronic message while operating a motor vehicle. In addition, a driver may not read any electronic messages on a personal, hand-held device while driving.

Beyond the messaging restriction, drivers are also prohibited from using a mobile device in any way while operating a motor vehicle, unless:

  • The driver is legally parked or stopped
  • The driver is an employee of emergency services
  • The driver is using hands-free technology
  • The driver is using GPS technology.

A driver caught violating any of the above rules could be fined $100. In most cases, this offense is considered a traffic infraction. However, school bus drivers committing the same offense can be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor.


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Super Lawyers Board Certified Specialist | North Carolina State Bar | Federal / State Criminal Law
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