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North Carolina Distracted Driver Law

Posted by naglefirm.admin | Oct 28th, 2022 |

Distracted driver texting on a cell phone, North Carolina

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of auto collisions in North Carolina. As such, it’s essential to understand what constitutes distracted driving and how to prevent it from happening. Here’s what drivers should know about North Carolina’s distracted driver laws and your legal rights following an accident.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that takes your attention away from the road. If you don’t keep your eyes and mind entirely focused on the road, then you are distracted. Here are some common examples of distracted driving:

  • Talking or texting on a cell phone
  • Programming your GPS
  • Adjusting the radio or AC
  • Eating and drinking
  • Applying makeup

Overview of North Carolina Distracted Driver Laws

Distracted driving laws vary from state to state. Some may consider North Carolina distracted driver laws more lenient than others, but authorities are no less diligent in enforcing safe driving and penalizing violators. If you drive in North Carolina, you should know these basic laws:

  • Texting while driving is illegal.
  • Hands-free calling or texting is legal.
  • You may send or receive texts at a red light.
  • Using handheld devices is permitted.
  • Drivers under 18 may only legally use their cell phones if they call their parents or emergency responders.
  • Commercial drivers who drive across state lines are subject to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations which disallow all cell phone use, even hands-free calls, for truck drivers and other commercial drivers.

Types of Distracted Driving Enforcement

Police officers have more than one way to enforce distracted driver laws. Depending on your state, they may use primary, secondary, or both. You can think about these two types of enforcement as follows:

  • Primary enforcement: An officer can pull you over for violating distracted driver laws and issue citations that impact driver’s license status and car insurance rates.
  • Secondary enforcement: An officer can pull you over if distracted driving causes you to break another state law. 

North Carolina has primary enforcement laws for distracted driving. It doesn’t matter if you’re following traffic laws and feel in complete control while texting. The police have every right to pull you over and issue you a citation. 

Are You Eligible for Compensation if Another Driver Hits You While You’re Texting?

Vehicle accidents can be tricky when it comes to determining fault and filing claims. In North Carolina, if a driver is just slightly (even merely 1%) at fault for causing their own accident, they have no claims and no rights of compensation.  You may wonder whether you’re eligible for compensation when another driver hits you while you’re violating a distracted driver law. The answer isn’t a simple yes or no.

The main question to answer is, “Who caused the incident?” If your distracted driving contributed to the accident, you might not receive any compensation for personal injuries or property damage. However, you could still recover compensation if another driver caused the wreck and you happened to be violating a distracted driving law at the same time.  The key issue is whether your distraction was a partial cause of the car accident.

Consequences of Distracted Driving

Violating a North Carolina distracted driver law can have severe consequences for you and everyone on the road. You could face fines of up to $100 for breaking these laws. More than that, your chances of causing an accident or being unable to avoid one significantly increase when you text or are otherwise distracted while driving.    

Contact your attorney immediately if a distracted driver collides with your vehicle. An accident lawyer can help pursue appropriate compensation for the following:

  • Present and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages and inability to earn
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of quality of life

Contact Our Experienced Attorneys Today

North Carolina’s distracted driver laws exist to keep everyone safe and secure on the road. If you or a loved one recently suffered injuries due to a vehicle accident, you could be entitled to compensation. 

Contact us at Nagle & Associates, P.A., to learn about your legal options and discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney. For more than 20 years, Carl Nagle has served personal injury victims throughout North Carolina. He and his team have recovered more than $400 million in compensation for injured North Carolina accident victims.