Whether it is a text message, an email, or GPS, many drivers are guilty of “peeking” at their phones while driving.
What if I just read a text but don’t actually respond to it?
Most people likely know that it is illegal to “text” and drive, but may not know that the law also prohibits the reading of a text. The law makes it illegal to read any electronic mail or text message transmitted to or stored within the device while operating a motor vehicle. This makes “peeking” illegal, even though you might not actually be texting. Good thing for stops signs and red lights, at which you would be considered “lawfully stopped.”
Though not considered a moving violation for which license points can be assessed, the penalty is a $100 fine plus court costs.
Texting while driving considered more dangerous than drunk driving
Studies have found that reaction time in drivers who are texting decreased by 35%, compared with a 12% decrease in reaction time in drivers who had been drinking. Drivers who had been drinking are also more likely to be focused on driving carefully so that they don’t get caught, but texting driver will likely be concentrating more on the messaging than on the driving. The risk of crashing while texting increases by over 20 times when compared to a driver who is not texting, whereas the risk of crashing when a driver has consumed alcohol increased 7 times when compared to a driver that has not been drinking.
What is North Carolina doing about it?
Despite laws to the contrary, texting while driving remains problematic in North Carolina. For the moment, it is not illegal to talk on a cell phone, which makes enforcement difficult. Pending in the North Carolina General Assembly, however, are 3 nearly identical bills that will make it illegal to use anything but a hands-free device while driving, including the act of dialing even if the resulting conversation is hands-free.
Solution? Hang up and drive.