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What are North Carolina’s distracted driving laws?

As cellphone usage has become increasingly common among drivers, the number of accidents due to distracted driving has risen in every state, including North Carolina. reports that distracted driving was the cause of over 430,000 injuries and 3,179 deaths across the country in 2014. While there are several different types of distraction, including drinking, reading, eating and adjusting a radio, texting on cellphones is being touted as the most dangerous violation since it encompasses all three types of distraction: cognitive, manual and visual.

In an attempt to reduce the number of accidents caused by cellphone use, new regulations are being made. reports that current rules outlaw any cellphone use while driving for those under 18 years old, unless they are calling their parents. School bus operators are also banned from using cellphones while operating a bus. There is also a prohibition against using email on a cellphone or texting for all drivers, regardless of age and experience.

North Carolina citizens are still being cited for cellphone use while driving, but the numbers are slowly decreasing. In 2013, 1,435 drivers were ticketed for texting and driving, but that number had dropped to 1,300 by 2014. Fines ranging from $25-$100 for citations may be partly responsible for the reduction.

As technology continues to advance, lawmakers must adjust laws accordingly. In May, 2016, a bill was proposed to also create a ban on the use of smartwatches while driving. If passed, the bill would carry a fine of $100 for the offender. 

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