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What are the distracted driving laws in North Carolina?

On Behalf of | Oct 16, 2020 | Injuries

According to the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, nearly 20% of 2018 auto accidents in the state involved distracted driving. These collisions often have serious consequences, including lifelong disability and even fatality.

Review the laws about distracted driving to stay safe on the road in North Carolina.

Texting and email prohibitions

The state prohibits drivers from reading, writing or sending emails or text messages while operating a motor vehicle. Specifically, drivers may not:

  • Enter letters or text in an electronic device by hand
  • Read text stored in or transmitted to a device, except for caller ID information

Exceptions to the rule

The law permits drivers to text in stopped or legally parked vehicles. The texting and email prohibitions do not apply to ambulance operators, firefighters and law enforcement officials who are performing official duties. In addition, drivers ages 18 and older may use voice technology to play, dictate and send hands-free messages and emails. They may also talk on a cell phone without a hands-free device. These exceptions do not apply to school bus drivers.

Penalties for texting and driving

This type of traffic ticket is a Class 2 misdemeanor in North Carolina. Drivers will receive a minimum fine of $100 plus court costs. However, the state does not impose an insurance surcharge.

Police officers consider texting and driving a primary enforcement offense. That means they can pull you over solely for texting and driving, even without the presence of other traffic violations.

If you or a loved one suffers a catastrophic injury in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you may have legal recourse. Your case may hinge on collecting substantial evidence to that effect, including police reports, video, photos and witness testimony.