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What does North Carolina law say about texting and driving?


Every year many car accidents occur in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the rest of the county, as a result of distracted driving. Nowadays, one of the major reasons for such distractions is mobile phones, which most people have with them all the time. Receiving frequent texting and social media messages on mobile phones means that such people are often unable to put devices away when they are supposed to be concentrating on driving.

Authorities in North Carolina and in the rest of the country understand the seriousness of the threat posed by texting and driving. Many state laws ban the use of handheld devices for texting while driving a motor vehicle. The laws pertaining to texting and driving in North Carolina are listed under Statutes § 20-137.4A.

According to the statute, it is illegal in North Carolina to operate a motor vehicle, both private and commercial, while using a mobile phone. The statute states that it is illegal to read or write a text message or email manually. There are, however, certain exceptions to this statute. The exceptions apply to those drivers who voluntarily stop or are parked while using their mobile phones, if the driver is a government employee on official duty, if the driver is using a GPS in the vehicle or if the driver is using voice commands to send or receive a text or email message.

North Carolina law states that a violation of § 20-137.4A will lead to an infraction and that person will be fined $100. If the violator is a school bus driver, the fine amount remains the same, but the offense will be considered a Class 2 misdemeanor. However, the violation will not affect a driver's license points or insurance surcharge. Moreover, if a driver fails to comply with the provisions of this section, the driver may not be regarded as negligent and did not commit contributory negligence in the event of an incident that claims damages and which stems from operating the motor vehicle.

Source: North Carolina Legislature, "Unlawful use of mobile telephone for text messaging or electronic mail," Accessed on April 16, 2015

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John McCabe wrote "The Investigation and Analysis of Personal Injury Cases" in the best-selling book Personal Injury Practice in North Carolina. This is the book that other lawyers follow in handling personal injury cases.

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