Local News

N.C. lawmakers could consider texting-while-driving ban

Posted January 2, 2009 5:11 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:11 p.m. EDT

— Driving while texting – it's the newest cell phone debate, and North Carolina lawmakers, this year, could consider a ban on the issue.

As of Jan. 1, California became the seventh state in the nation to make it illegal to send or read a text messages while driving. A fine for a first offense is $20; a second offense costs $50.

Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, said Friday that he believes state lawmakers could consider a similar ban for all North Carolina drivers.

"We need to keep people focused on the road and focused on safety and not clicking out text messages," said

North Carolina has already banned cell phone use and texting for bus drivers and teens under 18.
Talking on a cell phone was never widely banned after people who use phones for business opposed it.

Eric Rodgman, with the UNC Highway Safety Research Center, supports a texting ban and believes it should be illegal in every state.

He believes drivers only talking on a cell phone are twice as likely as others in wrecks to have a rear-end collision.

Although research on texting while driving is still lacking, he believes it is a bigger distraction than talking on a cell phone.

"The problem with text messaging is that you have to look at the face of the cell phone to look at the message or key in the message," Rodgman said.

Besides California, text messaging is banned for all drivers in six other states (Alaska, Connecticut, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey and Washington) and the District of Columbia, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.