Local News

Chapel Hill cellphone ban put on hold

Posted May 8, 2012

— Durham Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson extended his ruling Tuesday that Chapel Hill cannot ban the use of a cellphone while driving. In March, Chapel Hill became the first municipality in North Carolina to ban use of cellphones, including hands-free devices, for all drivers. The ordinance would have taken effect June 1.

The first challenge to that law came from a local towing company, which argued that the cellphone ban is at odds with a law that drivers must call police to report when they tow a car. 

Hudson agreed with lawyers for George's Towing & Recovery Tuesday and made his injunction against the ban permanent. 

Tom Stark, the attorney for George's Towing, said the town council had exceeded its authority in initiating the ban, and that it would damage his client's business. "The phone is a lifeblood for this kind of business," he said. "This is not a big business with a dispatcher.

"There is not a grant of authority to Chapel Hill to regulate cell phones," Stark said.

Attorneys for the town pledged to work out the conflict between the towing ordinance and the cellphone ban before June 1, but Hudson was unmoved.

The next step for the ban is unclear.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • boneymaroney13 May 8, 2012

    Is the wrecker driver and his lawyer saying the wrecker driver's cell phone will only work when the wrecker is in motion????

  • Dan Cooper May 8, 2012

    "What those of you who don't live in Chapel Hill may not realize, is that we have a much higher concentration of pedestrians, cyclists, and young drivers than your average town." Manxious

    What Chapel Hill has is plenty of very young and very old drivers, both of which are known for being more prone to causing auto accidents. You can't say CH has more ped's than an average town, certainly not a college town.

    Too bad I have to agree with a predatory towing company on this issue but sometimes you find common ground even with (people like that). Yes some people shouldn't be allowed to use a cell phone while driving, there are some bad drivers out there even without a cell phone. DMV should have an endorsement that allows those to drive with the cell phone in use, or prohibit cell phone usage while driving for 16-21 & 72+ year olds.

  • connieleigh4 May 8, 2012

    When the government makes my SUV payment, then and only then can they tell me what I can or can't do inside my vehicle! Until then, stay out of it!

  • kikinc May 8, 2012

    OneLove-Although I think this law was silly to begin with, there is evidence that talking on the phone while driving is just as dangerous.


  • writetanisha May 8, 2012

    Bottom line, Chapel Hill needs to get somewhere and sit down because there are people who dont misuse the cell phone and why should everybody be punished!I wouldnt mind if you could use hand free devices... I can comply wit that and im sure that most could as well, but the banning of it all together is toooooooo much.

  • OneLove May 8, 2012

    more dangerous than drinking and driving? --------> NOW THATS a stretch. Oh, I believe you'd pull some sort of verifiable report, but logically, that's just INSANE.

  • OneLove May 8, 2012

    wheres the logic in seatbelt fines? cutl00senc ---> Well, you would have an argument there if they were trying to take your seatbelt away......like they are phones.

  • InTheNo May 8, 2012

    This is a good story and I'm glad it's being covered on this site. However, did anyone see this out of Chapel Hill?


  • cutl00senc May 8, 2012

    OneLove...I paid for the seatbelt in my car when I paid for my car....wheres the logic in seatbelt fines?

  • cutl00senc May 8, 2012

    If we can fine people for not wearing a seatbelt, which happens to have zero affect on their driving ability, why cant we fine people for talking about the weather on a cell phone, which has been proven to be more dangerous than drinking and driving? Makes ZERO sense!