Bill would ban talking on handheld phone in North Carolina

North Carolina

Talking on the phone while driving without using hands-free technology could soon cost North Carolina drivers.

The bill is called Hands Free N.C. It would make it illegal to talk on the phone while driving.

“It infuriates me,” said Raleigh walker Abby Wahlstorm.

“It’s more dangerous than drinking,” Raleigh driver Brad Khoe said.

The bill would allow drivers over the age of 18 to use a cell phone if its affixed, mounted, or installed in a way that allows them to make, answer, or end a call by touching a single button.

“It only takes a minute to run off the road or miss a pedestrian walking across the street,” Goldsboro driver Cutral Holmes said.

Under the bill, drivers caught violating it would face a $100 fine. The second offense would lead to a $150 fine and an insurance point.

The law wouldn’t apply to those in emergency situations, or those experiencing unsafe road conditions or mechanical problems. It also would apply to first responders. 

“I would support that kind of legislation,” Kehoe said.

“I think it’s cool,” Holmes said.

North Carolina already bans texting and driving.

State Highway Patrol Master Trooper Brad Taylor said this new law would take it one step further.

“I have actually seen at night time, I look over and someone’s screen,” Taylor said. “They are on Facebook, scrolling looking at the newsfeed, so it is actually not texting and driving whereas if this goes into effect, it eliminates not just the fact that somebody may be texting and driving, but it eliminates the distraction of their attention to their cell phone.”

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, North Carolina would be the 17th state to pass talking while driving legislation. 

If passed, the law would take effect in 2020.

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