Local News

Despite law changes, drivers still text, hide plates

Posted November 30, 2011

— Just as 35 new laws are poised to take effect in North Carolina on Thursday, the State Highway Patrol said rules for drivers enacted last year haven't slowed down unlawful texting behind the wheel and hidden license plates.

A law banning texting while driving went into effect in 2009, but this time last year, the state started handing out fines to drivers who break it.

Sgt. Jeff Gordon said distracted driving is still a huge issue across the state.

"I see a lot of people driving with their elbows on the steering wheel, texting with one hand," Gordon said.

Pizza delivery man Al Chesson, who drives all over the Raleigh area every day, said he thinks the problem is getting worse.

"I see more of it, a lot – lot more of it," he said. 

In the first nine months of enforcement this year, Gordon said, troopers cited more than 650 drivers for texting behind the wheel.

Sgt. Jeff Gordon New rules haven't slowed texting behind the wheel

Nick Evans said the issue is a dangerous one.

"I almost got hit yesterday by somebody driving and texting who ran up on me," he said.

Another law that went into effect last year prohibits large frames around license plates. Gordon said law enforcement must "be able to see the tag, run the tag and get the information."

Anything blocking license plate information is illegal.

Troopers have cited more than 130 people for hidden plates this year, Gordon said, adding that he hopes people will become accustomed to the new rules.

"Most of the time, in a year's time span, people get the idea of what is legal and illegal," he said.


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  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Dec 1, 2011

    The law for removing frames from tags is not a safety issues or to make it easier for law enforcement.

    The law was intended to make it easier for the cameras on toll roads to identify the driver by reading the tag.

  • LocalYokel Dec 1, 2011

    Despite law changes, drivers still text, hide plates because nobody stops them.

  • sinenomine Dec 1, 2011

    Common Sense Man says that if you can't find the high beam switch [on the steering column] you shouldn't be driving.

    I can find the switch fine, but for reasons stated in my earlier post I still prefer the switch to be mounted on the floor. Also, not all column mounted switches operate in the same way. By way of example, I own two newish Jeeps and the switches operate differently, a source of confusion when I swap back and forth between cars. All of the old floor switches, on the other hand, operate the same.

  • wildcat Dec 1, 2011

    They should have made a law to make it illegal to use a cell-phone while driving. This is dangerous while you are driving on the roads and highways.

  • storchheim Dec 1, 2011

    "no matter how close you are to my bumper it is not going to make the 1000 cars in front of me go any faster." - Woohoo2you

    And it's not going to make ME go any faster. If anything, it'll slow me down because I want them to pass. Had a woman in SUV tailgate me 13 miles up Creedmoor Rd from Raleigh to NC56. I slowed, slid to the right so she could see it was safe to pass several times, but she was on her phone and on my bumper. I finally started braking enough that she had to brake too - no slamming - and she followed me into the parking lot, blocked me in, and confronted me as to why I kept "slamming on my brakes". I told her it was to get her off my donkey, and pointed to the video camera at the store entrance. She took off fast but not before I got her tag number.

    I fail to understand people who tailgate down NC15 when we're the only two cars on the 10-mile stretch. Pass or back off.

    Nothing aggressive about tailgaters! It's the other driver at fault!

  • kermit60 Dec 1, 2011

    So peole aren't following a few new laws. And did you really expect them to comply. The chance of getting caught is very small and if caught the punnishment is laughable. It is the age of entitlement. They feel they are entitled to do these things even at the risk of someone elses life. the punishment has to be increased until the desired deterent effect is reached. But we can't do that either because some councleman or legislator might lose a few votes.

  • babedan Dec 1, 2011

    trianglerelic - get a bluetooth and a mount for your phone so you don't have to hold it in your hand. The directions will talk to you through your bluetooth and with the phone mounted on the dash or windshield it will have a clear shot at the sky.

    Simple solution and guess what it frees both hands for you to use on the steering wheel.

  • WooHoo2You Dec 1, 2011

    Before you worry about people in the left lane who are already exceeding the speed limit, arrest people who tailgate no matter what.-storchheim

    Agreed! One thing I do not understand about tailgaters is no matter how close you are to my bumper it is not going to make the 1000 cars in front of me go any faster. It just puts EVERYONE AT RISK for NO REWARD.

  • babedan Dec 1, 2011

    Wonder why it's a problem, Look at the courts. Anyone remember a couple of months ago when a Judge handed down Probation and like a $500.00 fine for a man who KILLED another driver because he was texting and hit the other car? When the courts are held responsible for their actions then a lot of crime will stop. We have to get away from this "it wasn't intentional" mentality and start enforcing the law with a little teeth in the judgements.

    Otherwise our police are just spinning their wheels trying to enforce something the courts snub their nose at.

  • BrightLight Dec 1, 2011

    I drive about 60 miles on I40 and the Beltline about 5 days a week and I would say that nothing has changed based on my personal observations. That is, the new laws appear to have made NO difference, especially among younger drivers.