That quick “be there soon” or “grab milk” text you send while driving down an empty neighborhood road, at a red light, or even while sitting completely still in traffic, can cost you. Any driver of a motor vehicle in North Carolina is banned from texting-no exceptions. It is considered a primary offense, meaning that a police officer doesn’t need to see any other violation going on to pull you over. They can pull you over then and there based only on seeing you texting in the car.
Texting and driving exist under the “distracted driving” laws in North Carolina and will add to your points in the DMV point system enforced in the state. Too many points can result in a suspended license that can last for 60 days to a year, and the penalties get worse the more points you stack up in a short time.
Penalties for texting or “distracted” driving
While there may be changes coming to distracted driving legislation, currently it is usually just a $100 fine. But if other violations are occurring at the same time, such as speeding or no seat belt, the points and penalties can start to stack up. And if your points are already at the limit, you could be facing more severe suspensions or a revoked license.
One of the true dangers of distracted driving is that just a split second of your time, but it can drastically change your life or the life of someone else. The North Carolina Department of Transportation reported in 2015 that 1,264 cellphone-related crashes resulted in 538 injuries and 13 deaths-these are deaths that never should have happened just for a quick moment of communication.
The future of distracted driving
There are some North Carolina distracted driving bills in the works that may prohibit all cell phone usage going forward, although studies show that overall texting and driving convictions are down from the past two years. It’s better to be safe than sorry and save that text for when your car is parked, or to relay the message over a phone call, to or utilize a hands-free option like voice texting through your phone or car.