By Ben Whitley, personal injury lawyer of Whitley Law Firm.
A texting-while-driving law has been on the books in North Carolina for several years but police claim it is completely unenforceable. The reason—if you are over the age of 18, you can still hold a phone while driving. Police officers have no way of knowing whether you were texting or checking your GPS.
Next year, however, the law may change.
State Senator Jeff Tarte is currently working on legislation that would make it illegal to even hold your phone while you are driving. That means no texting, no emailing, no phone calls with a handheld, and even using your GPS could get you in trouble. This will make the texting and driving law easier to enforce, something police departments admit is difficult.
Tarte began drafting the legislation after losing his mother in 2002. Another driver, while on their phone at the time, crashed into the car of Tarte’s mother’s car, who later passed away due to her injuries. With this bill, Tarte hopes to prevent these kinds of distracted driving auto accidents.
Under the new piece of legislation, drivers could still use their phones hands-free using a Bluetooth earpiece or voice commands. Anyone caught driving with a phone in their hands under the new law, could easily be pulled over and charged with distracted driving.
Tarte plans to introduce the bill early next year. At that time, legislators also hope to create a bill that would allow accident victims civil remedies if they were injured by a distracted driver. While there is currently such a law on the books for those hurt by drunk drivers, distracted motorists now face very few penalties for breaking this important law.
Ben Whitley is a personal injury attorney at the Raleigh based Whitley Law Firm. Ben has extensive experience with personal injury cases involving car accidents, pedestrian accidents, product liability, and workers compensation. To find out more about Ben Whitley and the other attorneys at Whitley Law Firm, visit their Youtube and Facebook.