North Carolina Motorist Info

The following information is updated periodically. However, laws and regulations can change between updates. State statutes and local ordinances are the ultimate authorities for these issues.

Points of Interest

  • North Carolina makes extensive use of road blocks for DUI, seatbelt and other traffic enforcement purposes.
  • North Carolina is notorious for citing nonresidents who then receive offers from attorneys in the locale of the violation who “guarantee” a “no point” or reduced point violation for a specified amount of money.
  • Left turns on red from a one-way street to another one-way street are illegal in North Carolina.
  • North Carolina requires that you have your headlights on whenever you are using your windshield wipers.

Speed Limits

Rural Interstates: Cars 70, Trucks 70
Urban Interstates: Cars 70, Trucks 70
Other Limited Access Roads: Cars 70, Trucks 70

These speed limits apply unless a different limit is posted.

Speed limits are absolute–exceeding the speed limit is illegal per se (regardless of whether it was safe under the specific conditions).

Speed Limits Enforcement Techniques
Enforced through use of:
Pacing: Yes
Radar: Yes
Vascar: Yes
Automated Speed Enforcement: Yes
Aircraft: No
Laser: Yes

Aggressive Driver Actions Defined by Statute
Speeding and driving carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others while committing at least two of the following violations: running a red light or stop sign, illegal passing, failing to yield right of way, following too closely.

Ticket Payment Methods
Consult your ticket or clerk of courts

Trial By Declaration Allowed

Allowed with provisions

Jury Trial Allowed
Speeding: Yes
Parking: Yes
Equipment: Yes
DWI: Yes

Member of Nonresident Compact

Member of Driver License Compact

When and Where to File Accident Reports
Accidents involving death, personal injury, or property damage exceeding $1,000 must be reported immediately to the local authorities.

Resident Insurance Requirements
Liability insurance is required (although some states allow posting a cash bond or such as an alternative)
Minimum Coverage Required:
Injury to one person: $30,000
All injuries: $60,000
Property Damage: $25,000

Phone/Texting Restrictions
Hand-Held Ban: No
All Cell Phone Ban: Drivers younger than 18 and school bus drivers
Texting Ban: All drivers
Enforcement: Primary: for all offenses

Other Regulations

  • Transporting open beer and unfortified wine is permitted. All other alcoholic beverages in open containers are prohibited in the vehicle. Consumption while operating a vehicle is prohibited.
  • The BAC level is .08%.
  • North Carolina has an administrative license suspension law and an implied consent law. The breathalyzer refusal penalty is a 1-year driver’s license revocation.
  • Loaded handguns should be holstered and may be carried openly in the vehicle’s passenger compartment; loaded rifles and shotguns in a vehicle should be carried in plain view if in the passenger compartment.
  • Tire chains are not required.
  • North Carolina has a seat belt law with primary enforcement for all occupants.
  • North Carolina has a mandatory child restraint law for passengers under 13 years of age. Children under age 4 must use approved car safety seats.
  • North Carolina has a mandatory motorcycle helmet law.
  • Registration and insurance card must be carried in the vehicle.

General Information
Telephone: 919/733-7952 (Highway Patrol HQ) or
Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, FAQ, Traffic Tickets
Emergency Cellular Phone Number: HP (47)