Can you remember what it was like to drive before everyone had a cell phone? You used to look at a paper map to find your way around. If you needed to make a call, you pulled over to a phone booth. Changing the music was done by flipping the cassette or turning the radio dial. Emails were something you looked at when you got to the office. As for chatting with your friends — that was something you did when you saw them. Nowadays, you can do all of these things and more using one small device, your smartphone, as you drive.
Sadly the trade-off for the ability to do everything in our cars on our phones is that the roads are full of distracted drivers. Distracted driving deaths and injuries have climbed as a result. A group of North Carolina legislators recently introduced the “Hands Free NC Act” to tackle this.
What does the “Hands Free NC Act” propose?
Here are some of the proposed new rules:
- The law would ban you from using a phone or other electronic device while driving if you need to hold it. So you could still use your phone if in a phone holder on the dash. Or if you could control it via a headset. The new proposal would ban video calls or watching videos while driving, regardless of where your phone is.
- Stricter controls would apply to drivers under 18 years old. They would only be allowed to use the phone for navigation and only if they input the direction while stopped.
- The proposal suggests a $100 fine for a first-time offense. Extra offenses would acquire insurance points as well as increased fines.
Some consider the new proposal as inconvenient. However, if a driver injures you because they were distracted by their phone you might wish these measures were introduced earlier.
The consequences of a distracted driving accident on your life can be severe. Don’t hesitate to seek out an advocate who can protect your interests against the insurance companies if you are hurt.