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Texting while driving ban results in few tickets

Posted May 11, 2010
Updated May 12, 2010

— The risks of texting while driving are obvious, but that doesn't stop some people from sending text messages while behind the wheel.

Texting while driving became against the law in North Carolina last December. But enforcing the texting-while-driving ban has become a law enforcement challenge.

Since the law took effect, the state Highway Patrol has issued two citations in Wake County, while troopers in Durham County have written one.

"It’s an excellent law; it's just that a trooper has to articulate that a person is in fact texting and not looking at their phone number or making a phone call," Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Jeff Gordon said.

Under the law, drivers are supposed to either pull over or wait until they have stopped their vehicle before texting or sending an e-mail.

"It is bad. I know it's unsafe, but if you've got to text, you've got to text,” 21-year-old Nadia Hedgley said.

Hedgley and 21-year-old Alicia Tegen are among the people who are still flipping open cell phones and glancing down to type.

"There have been times when I’ve texted, and I’ve realized I’m getting up too close to a car,” Tegen said.

Troopers recommend that habitual text-messagers turn their cell phone off while driving to eliminate the temptation to respond to a text. But despite the dangers, some people have shown that they aren't willing to stop texting while driving

"I have seen people texting and driving at the same time, following too close, erratic driving. So it is a distraction. It is a problem," Gordon said.

Some drivers say they are more aware since the law went in to effect, but still aren't obeying it.

"I just don't want to get caught and I’m making sure that someone's not running into me,” Tegen said.

"If I’m on a straight road and I don't need to turn anytime soon, I’ll just like put it (phone) in front of me and type,” Hedgley said.

Troopers say the law is making a difference, however.

"A lot of it has to do with awareness. It could be us getting the word out there to people," Gordon said.

Since last December, troopers have issued 71 texting-while-driving tickets statewide. Among all law enforcement agencies, including police officers, sheriff's deputies and troopers, more than 220 citations have been issued since the law went into effect.

Violators face a $100 fine, plus court costs.


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  • Bendal1 May 13, 2010


    Technically, anything you do while driving that contributes to an accident can be used to charge you with distracted driving, so yes, fiddling with your cellphone but not texting would be illegal. And if you were on Glenwood when sending that message, I'd bet you were sitting a traffic signal. I wonder if someone honked at you to get you moving when it turned green too.

  • JandJ May 12, 2010

    It is sad that people are going to seriously injury themselves or kill someone before they get that text message just wasn't that important. Studies have shown that only 2% of people have what it takes to text and keep attention on the road, and you aren't one of them, I can assure you. I literally takes almost a savant to do it and not be distracted to the point they could have a wreck. And after you kill someone "I'm sorry, I was texting." OR "I just had to send that text message right then" isn't going to do much to make the family of the dead feel better (or your family if it is you that died.) Trust me. You aren't that important. Your message can wait.

  • Eastern N.C. Native May 12, 2010

    chromelexus22, if you're on Glenwood Ave. typing that then it's no surprise... You're probably sitting still in traffic. To answer your question, no those other comments you made regarding gps, ebay, etc. is not illegal. I feel like your comment may have sarcastic so maybe this will help... "http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2009/Bills/Senate/PDF/S22v0.pdf" This article is specific to North Carolina General Statute 20-137.4A. I'm out, talk with all of you later.

  • NCPictures May 12, 2010

    Gee paint me shocked There are great programs like Vlingo that will type a message for you, just speak into the phone.

  • sw May 12, 2010

    Just because you think you can do it safely, doesn't mean it's not a distraction. Anything that takes your focus off the road is potentially disastrous. Keep your eyes on the road, the life you save might be your own.

  • tamiya_stars May 12, 2010

    >>>but if you've got to text, you've got to text

  • NCSU2311 May 12, 2010

    Alright I'm in my car typing this on Glenwood Ave. No problem for me. You have to be smarter than the phone.

  • NCSU2311 May 12, 2010

    Eastern....I'll be using my GPS to make an appointment and my iPod on my phone for music. Are those illegal too? Is strolling Ebay while I drive illegal? I can read all I want just not push any buttons to communicate? I'm really confused now.

  • Moabit May 12, 2010

    What generation did most of you come from? You all think it is ok to text while driving? Only the old people can not do it? My 18 year old does not text and he constantly has to pay attention to the drivers coming at him in the wrong lane. You see their startled faces when they realize they almost hit somebody.Driving is driving and not eating or texting or sleeping while you drive. One of you that writes this stuff will be affected. then you can text from the hospital or heaven, hopefully nobody else gets hurt. this is not modern against old, this is still having common sense. What happened?

  • Eastern N.C. Native May 12, 2010

    HomerJ, I'm good in court. :) "imyourhighness69", I understand now you're quoting NHTSA but to simplify the issue, use a link to back up your claim. It helps people like me who must "see to believe" in most cases. Either way, thanks. I also like the comment that you'll be posting via your IPHONE... Yes, that's illegal by statute to communicate or read communication through your phone. :)