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Cellphone use while driving could become a nationwide ban

Talking on a cellphone while driving may be a thing of the past since The National Transportation Safety Board has called for a nationwide ban on cellphone use and text-messaging while driving. The NTSB is asking every state to outlaw non-emergency telephone and text use by drivers of all vehicles. One of the NTSB board members views the use of cellphones while driving as the new "DUI" in driver offenses.

Currently, 10 states have outlawed cellphone use while driving and they include: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Utah and Washington, and the District of Columbia.

More and more accidents have been attributed to cellphone use and according to the NTSB, 3,100 fatalities were linked to distracted drivers in 2010. Some feel that the actual numbers may be higher because those motorists involved in accidents may not admit that they were distracted while talking on the phone. Also, the NTSB reports that, at any given time during the day, it is estimated that approximately 13.5 million drivers are using hand-held phones.

Technology is everywhere -- smart phones, laptops and other portable devices. It would seem logical to focus on driving, but many people view their vehicle as a natural extension of their home or workplace, and continue to conduct business while driving -- they are multi-tasking.

If this ban goes into law, penalties could vary by state, but should be taken seriously. A minor traffic offense could become a problem in the future if not addressed properly. A criminal defense attorney familiar with North Carolina laws would be your best defense in evaluating your situation. Traffic violations can add points to your record, could cause your insurance rates to increase and if you have had other traffic offenses, you could lose your license.

Source: The Mount Airy News, "Plug may finally be pulled on drivers using cell phones," Tom Joyce, Jan. 21, 2012

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