Unlike many other states, North Carolina does not have a full ban on handheld cellphone use while driving. For adults over 18 not driving a school bus, texting and driving is illegal – but holding and using your phone for any other reason is allowed, despite mountains of evidence that a distracted driving in any form is a danger to the public.
The need for a stronger anti-distracted driving law is increasingly obvious to North Carolinians, if the results of a survey by the Meredith College Poll are any indication. Most people surveyed said they want the state to adopt a hands-free requirement for smartphone use behind the wheel.
The most serious traffic safety problem
If nothing else, almost everyone recognizes how dangerous distracted driving is: 95 percent of respondents said that distracted driving is at least as serious of a public safety problem as drunk driving. In fact, just under 51 percent called distracted driving the most serious traffic issue in North Carolina.
Not a partisan issue
This issue is nonpartisan. Meredith College Poll reports that those supporting a hand-free law come from a variety of political viewpoints. More than 52 percent said they would vote for a candidate who supports such a change in the law.
What happens next?
Whether this movement toward improving traffic safety leads to any significant change remains to be seen. Prohibiting handheld cellphone use by drivers would likely prevent many car accidents. But it is a sad fact that serious distracted driving wrecks would still happen in North Carolina.
When someone is hit by a distracted driver, there is a good chance they will suffer long-term, even permanent injuries. For them, a consultation with a personal injury lawyer can help clear up confusion about their legal options.