State News

Texting-while-driving ban becomes law

Posted June 19, 2009

— Starting Dec. 1, texting while driving could cost you.

Gov. Bev Perdue on Friday signed into law a bill that bans drivers from text messaging or sending e-mails with their cell phones.

Texting-while-driving ban becomes N.C. law Texting-while-driving ban becomes N.C. law

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia currently prohibit text messaging by drivers, nearly double the number just four months ago, according to the national Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety agencies.

Supporters of the legislation say texting drivers often look down to type or keep an unstable hold on the steering wheel while typing with both hands.

Under the law, drivers would have to either pull over or wait until they have stopped their vehicle before they could text or e-mail. Violators could face a $100 fine, plus court costs.

School bus drivers, who are already barred from cell phone use on the road, would now be subject to the texting ban as well.

The bill, which narrowly passed in the Senate last week by a vote of 30-18, makes exceptions for emergency responders, as well as people who use voice-activated technology or access global navigation systems.

Senators complained it was wrong to pass a law that is difficult for police to enforce, but supporters have said there is value in sending a message.

"It's all about safety, and I think we have a lot of law-abiding citizens," said Ron Wyatt, president of a local chapter of the North Carolina Fraternal Order of Police. "If people know it's illegal, we'd hope they'd abide by those rules."

It will still be legal for adult drivers to make calls on a cell phone. A 2006 law already made it illegal for young drivers to use a cell phone, with a few exceptions.

86 Comments

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  • larrytxeast Jun 22, 6:02 p.m.

    Those who approve of this are as guilty of discrimination as other persons 30-odd years who were guilty of racism.

    The issue isn't cellular phones and/or texting, but driving distractions period. It matters not whether the distraction is a cellular phone, children, eating, applying makeup, but for some reason it's become fashionable and easy to single out cellular phones only. I recall a accident in 1999 in Tucson AZ (I lived there then) due to a driver distraction courtesy of a car stereo, the victim was killed. There was nowhere near the outrage there would've been had a celular phone been involved.

    I see the same thing where it regards cell phone's usage in restaurants, movies, grocery store lines--people say they don't like the shouting, but you can see someone shout to their friends who are with them but no one complains about that. This is a double standard and it's wrong. And I will say it--I use my cellular phone, a lot, safely, and I don't have to explain myself to anyone.

  • Smorgas_Of_Borg Jun 19, 7:56 p.m.

    "The bill, which narrowly passed in the Senate last week by a vote of 30-18" ??

    In an election, if a candidate gets 62.5% of the vote, it's called a 'landslide'.

    "Narrowly passed"???

  • mjeffrey Jun 19, 7:55 p.m.

    Amen to that, Steve from Yellowstone

  • busyb97 Jun 19, 7:37 p.m.

    I don't know how they'd be able to enforce it, but they should have included a huge fine if you are in an accident and found to have been texting at the time it occurred.

  • jkbird Jun 19, 7:00 p.m.

    It is really a sad state of affairs in NC when we have to pass laws to keep people from doing what any mature adult would know is extremely dangerous.

  • McTrucker Jun 19, 6:14 p.m.

    I don't care what the laws are. Kill my family while driving irresponsibly ie, drinking and driving or texting, and I will spend the rest of my life in jail for killing you.

  • Leftwing Jun 19, 4:59 p.m.

    About time! Now what we need is a site like Swat-A-Litterbug where you can report the license plate numbers of those who are seen texting while driving.

  • mjeffrey Jun 19, 4:56 p.m.

    chivegas,
    I am willing to bet that you only THINK you can text and drive,but are too busy texting to realize that you are not driving well. ANY extra task conducted while driving diverts attention from the task of driving itself. Research has PROVEN that for ANYONE, texting while driving takes away from your concentration on the road.

  • delilahk2000 Jun 19, 4:54 p.m.

    I JUST DO NOT GET IT, WHY THESE PEOPLE THINK THAT THE STUPID STUFF THEY ARE TEXTING IS SO IMPORTANT THAT THEY WOULD RISK KILLING SOMEONE FOR. IF ANYONE IS CAUGHT TEXTING WHILE DRIVING OR ANYTHING ELSE INSTEAD OF DRIVING THEIR INS. SHOULD GO UP 50 FOLD, CAUSE TO ME IT IS WORSE THAN A DRUNK DRIVER.!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • batcave Jun 19, 4:52 p.m.

    most if not all states are broke. A univ utah study concluded that a 20 yr old talking on a cell has the same reation time as a 70 yr old with no cell. People who text and drive just think they are bright, but are not thinking at all. Texting looks stupid enough as it is much less while you are driving.

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