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North Carolina legislators have made texting while driving a second-class misdemeanor punishable by a $100 fine and court costs, which would add almost $200 more to the offense. But taking points off the driver’s license is not all. The justification for the texting ban stems from statistics showing an increase in the number of collisions resulting from “distracted” drivers, particularly among teenage motorists. Many people recognize texting while driving is distracting but do it anyway.

Driving and texting can prove even more dangerous than driving intoxicated. Anyone who is involved in a collision due to another driver texting while driving should immediately contact a Durham texting while driving lawyer who can advise you of your next steps and legal options. A skilled car accident attorney can help you in your pursuit for compensation.

Texting While Driving Law

Under North Carolina law, texting while driving is a prohibited circumstance as the “unlawful use of mobile telephone for text messaging or electronic mail.”

Under that law, these activities are forbidden:

  • Manually entering multiple letters or text in the device as a means of communicating with another person
  • Reading 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

As a Durham texting while driving auto accident attorney can explain, the law addresses two classes of drivers more stridently. Novice drivers, those younger than 18, are not allowed to use their cell phones from behind the wheel at all. School bus drivers are not allowed to use cell phones unless the call is for an emergency.

What the Law Allows

The Durham texting while driving law does not prohibit motorists from texting or using a mobile communication device while “lawfully parked or stopped.”

Other exceptions to the law allow using global positioning systems (GPS), wireless communication devices for transmitting data as part of a digital dispatch system, and using voice-operated technology.

Finding Violators

A law enforcement officer must actually see a driver texting. This is called “primary” law, meaning another traffic violation is not necessary to make a traffic stop for texting.

One pilot program in North Carolina had an officer riding with a state road truck to catch violators and relay the information to another officer to make the stop.

Proving Negligence

North Carolina’s texting law may be difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in court. For example, a driver may be accessing GPS information instead of texting, and that is not a violation of the law as written.

The citing officer needs to actually see the text and its time and date to prove the driver was texting. The motorist does not have to show the device to the officer over a traffic citation, but the officer may seek a search warrant. The busy court system may not want to be flooded with such requests, so convictions are hard to come by. Fewer than half of cited offenders are convicted.

Contacting a Durham Texting-While-Driving Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one was involved in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence due to texting while driving, please do not hesitate to contact a Durham texting while driving car accident lawyer, who will begin building the strongest case possible to help you receive the maximum amount of compensation you deserve.