As cellphone and portable electronic device use has become more a part of everyday life, the hazards posed by distracted driving have become prevalent than ever. To address this, North Carolina legislators are now proposing a bill that stops all hand-held cellphone use among drivers.
What You Need to Know About Hands Free NC
Senate Bill 20, a law co-sponsored by a bipartisan mix of 45 legislators, also titled “Hands Free NC,” would ban the use of cellphones and other wireless devices while driving. If the bill is signed into law by Governor Roy Cooper, it will go into effect on July 1. Its primary sponsors are Jim Burgin of Johnson County, Kevin Corbin of Cherokee County, and Mike Woodard of Durham County. Senator Vickie Sawyer of Yadkin County is a co-sponsor. The bill contains several elements from the 2019 House Bill 144, also titled Hands Free NC, and similar language from a bill that passed the Georgia legislature.
Under Senate Bill 20, texting, emailing, and watching videos while driving would still remain prohibited. In addition to these restrictions, it would ban motorists from holding phones in their hands or propping them on their bodies to use. However, ‘one-touch’ functions for music or GPS navigation would be allowed as long as a device is not being held.
If passed, those in violation of SB20 could face fines between $100 and $200 and between one and two insurance points for multiple offenses. School bus drivers who violate the law could be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor, which carries a 1 to 60-day jail sentence and a $1,000 fine.
There are some exceptions to this bill for law enforcement officers, ambulance drivers, firefighters, and other medical personnel.
The Dangers of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving statistics show that multitasking behind the wheel is becoming a life-threatening norm. According to a 2019 NCDOT report on vehicle accidents, 20%, or 55,000, were caused by distracted driving. These accidents resulted in 24,000 injuries and 154 deaths.
Texting isn’t the only form of distracted driving. Multiple behaviors such as using social media, messenger apps, GPS, and listening to music can divert people’s attention away from the road. Using a cellphone while driving reduces a driver’s ability to adequately direct attention to the road and respond to traffic events. Coupled with the lack of driving skills and inexperience, cell phone use behind the wheel can be especially deadly for teen drivers.
You Shouldn’t Have to Pay For A Distracted Driver’s Mistakes
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, you may be able to receive compensation for injuries, as well as pain and suffering and lost wages. The experienced car accident lawyers at Henson Fuerst have over 40 years of experience in representing individuals across North Carolina involved in distracted driving accidents and other motor vehicle accidents. Call us at 919-791-1107 for a FREE, confidential consultation.