From communicating with loved ones and posting on social media to staying updated with current events and playing games, cellphones have become part of our daily lives. However, many people continue to use their cellphones while they’re behind the wheel, which can lead to a serious and even fatal car accident.
Since distracted driving has become a significant issue in the United States, many states throughout the country have enacted laws to make it illegal to use your cellphone while operating a vehicle. Violating these types of laws can lead to costly fines and harsh penalties, especially for commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders.
In North Carolina, texting while driving is a primary offense, which means law enforcement can pull you over and issue you a ticket solely for breaking this law. In some states, texting while driving is a secondary offense, meaning the motorist must first violate another law before being cited for texting while driving.
It is against the law to manually enter text in a cellphone to communicate with someone else and/or read a text sent or stored in a cellphone. Remember, you cannot be cited for texting while driving if you are lawfully stopped or parked, you are using a GPS or voice-operated device, or you are texting a police officer, firefighter, or ambulance driver while they’re on duty.
Violating the texting-while-driving law in North Carolina carries a maximum $100 fine for a first offense. If a school bus driver violates this law, it is considered a Class 2 misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum 60-day jail sentence and a fine of up to $100. If a CDL holder violates this law twice within three years, his/her driver’s license will be suspended for up to 60 days.
When it comes to talking on your cellphone, whether you’re using your hands or a hands-free device, there is no law. However, minors are not allowed to use any devices while operating a vehicle.