Texting While Driving in North Carolina

Until fairly recently, North Carolina did not have a specific law that made “texting-while-driving” a crime.  But it arrived: Gov. Bev Perdue signed a law in June that will make texting while driving illegal as of December 1, 2009. The law will be a new charge for drivers to deal with and a new charge for which they will have to pay attorneys.

Last year, President Obama held a texting-while-driving summit to highlight the problem of our roads made more dangerous by the use of cell phones.  Make no mistake about it: texting a friend while driving a car is without a doubt an extremely dangerous activity. A car is a dangerous object, and one that’s being driven without full attention to the highway can become a deadly weapon.

The fact of the matter, however, is that any texting-while-driving law will be difficult to enforce. Unless the police officer can testify that he did see the defendant text while driving, there may be no way to get a conviction.

The fact that a lot of teenagers from Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, and so forth will get accused of texting-while-driving is going to put a lot of parents in bad moods.

For a different opinion on why texting-while-driving laws may be ill advised, here’s Radley Balko writing in the  U.S. News and World Report.

Even as late as the Fall of 2010, there have been comparatively few texting-while-driving charges.  But that’s because police have apparently not focused their attention on identifying and arresting such people.

But surely in the next couple of years there will be a slew of such cases as people who have been involved in wrecks admit to police that they were texting-while-driving.

Damon Chetson

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.