In the past years, distracted driving has quickly became one of the leading causes of North Carolina motor vehicle collisions. This prompted legislators to enact several laws aimed at keeping drivers from engaging in distracting behavior on the roads.
All motorists in North Carolina are prohibited from reading or sending text messages while at the wheel of a vehicle. Committing this primary offense is punishable by a fine of $100 or higher.
The passing of the laws created a bit of a learning curve on how to enforce the new regulations for officers and troopers. North Carolina Highway Patrol points out troopers must catch drivers in the act of texting and driving, which can prove difficult. Law enforcement officials are quickly learning the best ways to observe motorists engaged in distracting behaviors.
The success of law enforcement’s efforts to more effectively catch distracted drivers and educate them on the dangers of their behavior has been proven by the numbers. Over the last three years, the number of convicted distracted drivers has steadily decreased.
The neighboring state of South Carolina does not currently have a ban on texting and cell phone use. There are localities within South Carolina that have distracted driving bans which inclued: Camden, Columbia, Walhalla, Clemson, Sumter, Hilton Head Island, Beaufort and West Union.
Here are 10 tips from GHSA for managing some of the most common distractions.
- Turn it off and stow it. Turn your phone off or switch it to silent mode before you get in the car. Then stow it away so that it’s out of reach.
- Spread the word. Record a message on your phone that tells callers you’re driving and will get back to them when you’re off the road, or sign up for a service that offers this feature.
- Pull over. If you need to make a call, pull over to a safe area first.
- Use your passengers. Ask a passenger to make the call or respond to a text for you.
- X the Text. Don’t ever text and drive, surf the web or read your email while driving. It’s dangerous and against the law in most state. Even voice-to-text isn’t risk-free.3
- Know the law. Familiarize yourself with state and local laws before you get in the car. Some states and localities prohibit the use of hand-held cell phones in addition to texting.
- Prepare. If using a GPS device, enter your destination before you start to drive. If you prefer a map or written directions, review them in advance. If you need help while driving, ask a passenger to assist you or pull over to a safe location to change your GPS or review your map/directions.
- Secure your pets. Unsecured pets can be a big distraction in the car.
- Mind the kids. Pull over to a safe place to address situations involving children in the car.
- Focus on driving. Multi-tasking behind the wheel is dangerous. Refrain from eating, drinking, reading, grooming, smoking, and any other activity that takes your mind and eyes off the road.
- Here is the link for North Carolina specific laws: http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/bystate/nc.html
- Here is the link for South Carolina specific laws: http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/bystate/sc.html
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