Teens and Cellphone Laws in N.C.Teens are notorious for carrying around their cellphones and constantly looking at them, whether they are responding to a text, uploading a picture or status, or scrolling the newsfeed on social media. Look around at any given location, and people, mostly teens, are glued to their phones, oblivious to the world around them. But what if that same person takes their cellphone and proceeds to do equivalent antics while driving? While it sounds scary, it happens all the time, which is why teens and cellphone laws in North Carolina have been established.

Are the Cellphone Laws Being Enforced?

Originally, the N.C. law banned the use of cellphones for drivers under the age of 18 while the vehicle is in operation, but later enforced this law for ALL drivers, not just teenagers. Although this law has been established now for years, is it being enforced?

If you are caught using a cellphone while the vehicle is in motion, there is a small fine, but no points are added to the driving record and no insurance surcharge is considered. This is hardly a deterrent for people to put down their phones and instead, pay attention to the roads and other drivers.

Cellphone usage at the time of an accident is difficult to prove; therefore, law enforcement has an even harder time making a conviction. Instead, it may be easier to cite the cause of the accident as careless and reckless, failure to reduce speed, or something similar. Drivers guilty of texting while driving are not likely to admit to it.

Lawmakers are now working to create tougher standards to modify the current N.C. cellphone law to still include fine(s), but to also add points to the charged driver’s license. In addition, lawmakers are trying to extend the bill to include a ban of even “holding” a cellphone while driving. This may or may not impact teens or anyone else from using their devices while driving, but if the public gets behind these lawmakers, it could have a positive impact.

Educate the Public

All it takes is one day of consciously taking notice of how many people are texting and driving to know what kind of epidemic this is. Everywhere you look, you will see it and it is a huge problem for safety. Below are just some of the ways the public can become more aware of the dangers of texting while driving:

  • Education in the Schools- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated that 10 percent of drivers aged 15-19 involved in fatal auto accidents were sidetracked and that drivers in their 20’s represent 38 percent of distracted drivers who were using a cellphone while driving which resulting in a fatality. Teaching facts like these to students can increase their awareness of the many dangers! 
  • Education on the Roads- The State Highway Patrol works diligently to patrol roads in unmarked vehicles in order to catch drivers who are distracted and texting. If someone sees an officer, he/she may try to hide the phone in their lap, but if the cars are unmarked, it is easier to catch people in the act of texting while operating a car.
  • Education at Home- Education starts in the home. Parents need to discuss the dangers of texting while driving with their teens and refrain from doing so themselves.
  • Campaign for Teens- Campaigns such as “X the Txt” was designed by an Allstate Insurance campaign to encourage students/teens to agree to a pledge stating they would refrain from texting while driving. Since the beginning of this campaign, 2 million people have taken this pledge.

DON’T Text and Drive!

This may sound easy, but for many, the temptations of checking that text, voicemail or social media cannot be resisted. It only takes a split second to look down at your phone and it only takes a second to hit another car due to this distraction. Stay safe and put down your phone!