LITTLETON, N.C. — Talking on your cell phone while driving is against the law in the Halifax County town of Littleton. The town has never enforced the ordinance even though it has been on the books for a number of years.
Motorists are greeted with signs as they enter the Littleton town limits on Highway 158, but when they see those signs, town law says they are supposed to hang up their cell phones.
"The ordinance has been on the books for years, but can't be enforced until signs are put up," said Littleton Mayor Mason Hawfield.
Hawfield is leading the charge against efforts to curb cell phone use. If Hawfield gets his way, the signs will not be ordered nor will the ordinance be enforced.
"We only have one police officer. The ordinance would be tough to enforce," Hawfield said.
Reaction to the cell phone ordinance is mixed among Littleton residents.
"The penalty is a $10 fine. I don't think that's a deterrant to anybody, really," resident Ray Holloman said.
"We only have one stoplight and we don't have much traffic and we want more, so we shouldn't do anything that causes a decrease in business," resident Judith Forrest said.
Hawfield said he will ask the town board next week to not buy the cell phone signs.
UNC Highway Safety Research Center
estimates at any given time, about three percent of drivers on the road are also talking on the phone.
Hands-free phones may not be the answer as a study last year out of the University of Utah found drivers were just as distracted, no matter the type of phone.
Each year in North Carolina, an estimated 1,500 crashes are blamed on cell phones. State legislators tried twice to force drivers to hang up their cell phones. Both efforts failed.