NC Drivers May Soon Face Stricter Restrictions on Cell Phone Use

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State lawmakers are working on getting a bill passed that would ban NC drivers from talking on their cell phones while operating a motor vehicle.

HB 144 proposes fines for first offenses of talking on the phone while driving. Subsequent convictions would result in fines and insurance points.

Exceptions would allow drivers to talk on cell phones while parked. Drivers 18 and older would also be able to use a mounted cell phone if the call could be placed and ended with a single button.

Drivers who experience emergency situations and emergency responders are exempt under the proposed bill.

The bill needs the approval of the House, Senate and NC governor to officially become law.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) website, North Carolina currently bans texting while driving for all drivers and talking while driving for those younger than 18 and all school bus drivers.

In last week’s Town Talk interview with North Carolina Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey, the topic of HB 144 was briefly discussed.

“Distracted driving is the leading cause of deadly accidents today,” said Causey. “Texting and talking while driving have killed so many people needlessly.”

Causey believes the bill, which has been brought up several times in past years, will pass this go around thanks to “broad bipartisan support.”

“The time is now right with the number of deadly accidents and the pressure it’s putting on raising auto insurance rates. It’s a common sense safety move that would also help hold down insurance rates.”

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