According to the National Safety Council, one in every four car accidents are the result of texting and driving. Also, texting and driving makes an accident more than four times more likely to happen. North Carolina enacted N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-137.4A in order to deter its citizens from texting and driving.
Under North Carolina’s Motor Vehicle Act, it is unlawful for a person to operate a vehicle on a public street, highway or public vehicular area while using a mobile telephone to:
- Manually enter multiple letters or text in the device as a means of communicating with another person; or
- Read any electronic mail or text message transmitted to the device or stored within the device, provided that this prohibition shall not apply to any name or number stored in the device nor to any caller identification information.
A person cannot be found in violation of this law if their vehicle is lawfully parked or stopped. Similarly, a person can use factory-installed or aftermarket global positioning systems (GPS) or wireless communications devices used to transmit or receive data as part of a digital dispatch system as well as use voice operated technology.
Violation of this law is an infraction and shall be punishable by a $100 fined and court costs. Even though this may seem slight to some, one may be subjected to a civil negligence lawsuit if he or she causes an accident as a result of texting and driving. The best way to avoid violating the statute is to wait until your vehicle is lawfully parked or stopped to enter letters or text into your cell phone or to read text messages or emails. Learn Your Rights 101.