No more texting for N.C. drivers

North Carolina’s Legislature has banned text messaging by all drivers. HB 9 cleared the Senate and was ratified on Thursday, June 9, 2009.

The North Carolina anti-texting legislation was sent to Gov. Beverly Perdue, who has indicated she will sign it.

The House vote was nearly unanimous, but the Senate result was split 30-18, with the usual issues raised by Republicans about the difficulty of enforcement.

The North Carolina texting law goes into effect Dec. 1 barring a change heart by the governor.

Fines for most drivers will be $100 in addition to court costs. No points or insurance increases will result from the infraction. School bus drivers, already singled out in a state cell phone ban, would be subject to texting misdemeanors with fines starting at $100.

North Carolina drivers over the age of 18 are permitted to use cell phones with or without a hands-free device.

Rep. Garland Pierce, D-Scotland, was the texting bill’s creator in the House. He has said of the enforcement arguments: “I feel that’s true. But the point we were trying to make: If law-abiding citizens understand the importance of having safe highways, we would hope that they would respect the law and do the right thing.”

Sen. Bill Purcell, D-Scotland, agreed: “There are North Carolinians who will go by the law whether you stop them and give them a ticket or not.”

The bill prohibiting text messaging by North Carolina drivers was first approved by the House Ways and Means and Broadband Connectivity Committee on April 1. The House Judiciary Committee gave its approval on April 14. The full House backed the bill on April 16, in a 104-5 vote. The Senate approved HB 9 on June 9, in a 30-18 vote.

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