Local News

Chapel Hill council splits 4-4 on cellphone ban

Posted March 12, 2012
Updated March 13, 2012

— The Chapel Hill Town Council was split 4-4 Monday evening on a proposed ordinance that would ban all cellphones behind the wheel, including the use of hands-free mobile devices by drivers.

One council member was absent, according to a town news release.

A second reading on the ordinance is scheduled for the council's next meeting on March 26. If passed, the ban would go into effect June 1.

The town council is also considering a measure that would still allow drivers to use hands-free cellphones.

If the cellphone use ban is approved, it would be the first of its kind passed by a municipality in North Carolina. 

The proposal makes cellphone use behind the wheel a secondary offense, meaning an officer must first stop a vehicle for another reason before issuing a citation for violating the ban.

North Carolina state law prohibits drivers age 18 and under from using cellphones and also makes texting while driving illegal when a car is in motion. Ten states and the District of Columbia have bans on using hand-held cellphones while driving.

On Monday, the town council also voted to support a a resolution encouraging people to vote against a measure to ban same-sex marriage.

The measure would amend the state constitution to outlaw any legal union other than marriage between a man and woman. Current state law already defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

North Carolinians will vote on the proposed amendment May 8.


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  • brentf777 Mar 16, 2012

    WRAL left out a very important fact. The proposed ban is ILLEGAL. The state Attorney General's office has already told them they don't have the authority to institute such a law. Half the city council voting in favor of the ban anyway just gives one more example of how the rule of law is a thing of the past.

  • federalsales2 Mar 14, 2012

    Who wants to live in Chapel Thrill anyway,,,some of the most unfriendly people I have ever seen,,,I guess they have to talk on the cell phone,,,and aren't friendly to others,,,,so let them have it...

  • Hammerhead Mar 14, 2012

    So, all anybody's come up with so far is drive-thru windows? Thought so.

  • Hammerhead Mar 14, 2012

    "Address for ticket to follow."

    You do realize that this hasn't been enacted yet, right? What do you think about the seat belt law, zoning ordinances, or nuisance laws?

  • piene2 Mar 14, 2012

    Drive-Thru windows are banned (unless grandfathered at a steep tax rate) inside the town limits of Chapel Hill, also a first for any municipality in NC.

    I always get a laugh out of drive through windows. A bunch of lazy people that wait twice as long because they can not drag their posteriors out of their cars to go into the store. Mostly the drive trough windows just create a pileup in the parking lots. I have no problem at all with banning them.

  • mmtlash Mar 13, 2012

    if it wasn't for Hillsborough there wouldn't be a Wal-Mart in all of Orange County!

  • mmtlash Mar 13, 2012

    isn't Wal-Mart essentially banned from Chapel Hill? Which is why the keep building or proposing stores just outside the town limits versus in the city itself :-p

  • Retired07 Mar 13, 2012

    Hey does this sound anything like Fayetteville trying to ban police consent search? Guess we now have the newly formed Republics of Chapel Hill and Fayetteville that don t believe in the legislative standard law set for the rest of us concerning these two questions?

  • TwKaMF Mar 13, 2012

    Name something else banned in CH? Postseason play & athletic scholarships for ewenc football.

  • americaneel Mar 13, 2012

    I think the 4 nays were texting during the vote and weren't paying attention