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man texting while driving

It’s no secret or surprise that distracted driving is a major issue on North Carolina’s roads. In 2018 alone, there were 123 deaths in the state attributed to distracted driving. While there are any number of reasons why a driver can get distracted, such as eating, looking at scenery or even dealing with kids in the car, no reason is more common — or dangerous — than cell phone use.

On average, it takes about five seconds to read a text. In that time, your car will travel about 100 yards if you’re driving at 55 miles per hour. To put it in perspective, you’re driving blind for about the length of a football field. Because of that, cell phone use caused about 1.5 million collisions across the country in 2017.

North Carolina does have certain laws on the books prohibiting specific uses of cell phones while driving. But many lawmakers and residents don’t think these laws are tough enough. There is a new law being considered that would make it illegal to use any handheld devices while driving.

At Auger & Auger, we appreciate this effort by the North Carolina legislature. We greatly appreciate any steps taken to reduce the number of wrecks on the state’s roads. But if you are involved in a collision, our Charlotte car accident lawyers are here to help you. Call us at (800) 559-5741 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation today.

Current Distracted Driving Laws in North Carolina

Under current law, most drivers can still hold their phones to talk while they’re driving. The exceptions are drivers under 18 years old, as well as commercial vehicle drivers. However, no driver is allowed to “manually enter multiple letters or text” while driving. This includes texting, emailing, sending instant messages or any other kind of text input.

For most drivers, the penalty for texting and driving is a $100 fine, plus the costs of court. There are no license points assessed, and it’s unlawful for insurance companies to increase your premiums because of this violation. For bus drivers caught texting and driving, a violation of this law carries a Class 2 misdemeanor charge and a fine of no less than $100.

The Newly Proposed Laws

Like many states in recent years, North Carolina legislators are considering making it illegal to hold your phone at all while you’re driving. This would include texting, holding your phone to make phone calls, taking photos or videos, or otherwise using your phone in a way that requires you to hold it.

In addition, this law would make cell phone use while driving a primary offense. That means drivers could be pulled over just for phone usage. Under current law, illegal cell phone use is a secondary offense, meaning there must be another reason, with cell phone usage being added on to the ticket.

The bill would still allow for hands-free usage, such as making a call on speaker when your phone is mounted. Because of this fact, some legislators don’t believe the bill would truly be effective.

“The problem is the conversation. Are we as a legislature willing to legislate no phone calls while you’re driving? And if we’re not willing to do that, then we’re not going to solve the problem,” said Republican Representative Michael Speciale from Craven County. He is voting against the bill.

Others point to the success that other states, especially Georgia, have had since passing similar bills. Since the passing of the bill in Georgia, typing on phones while driving has dropped 22%. In addition, traffic fatalities dropped 16% within two years of a similar law being passed.

Consult a Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer Today

While the new law is still being debated in the North Carolina House and Senate, texting and driving will continue to be a major issue on our roads. If you are involved in a car wreck with a distracted driver, you have legal rights. Contact a Charlotte car accident lawyer at Auger and Auger today for a free consultation by calling (800) 559-5741 or filling out our convenient online contact form.

As we have previously written, Charlotte like many other cities has been overtaken by electric scooters.  It is unlikely that you will spend very much time in uptown Charlotte without seeing someone riding electric scooters that they can rent through an app on their phone. This issue of scooters in the city has been a hot button issue in the Queen City, as it has been in other cities as well.  While most of the focus on these scooters has been positive, some other municipalities (Columbia, South Carolina) have out and out banned them.  Other cities have also legislated the issue of scooters which has caused new rules on how many scooters can be in a city, where they can be ridden and issues related to keeping riders, drivers and pedestrians safe.

While Charlotte has embraced scooters and also addressed some issues through city government, the latest news on the issue of electronic scooters has to do with the city’s plan to Charge the scooter companies a premium for allowing the scooters in the city. Until now Charlotte was one of the few cities that has not been charging the scooter companies for access to the Charlotte market. Because of the issues that come with these scooters – those relating to the scooters effect on the Charlotte infrastructure, it was only a matter of time before Charlotte put together a plan to charge these scooter companies.  While this may not sound like anything that should alarm folks that use them, it should be noted that some are concerned with the possibility that these costs will be passed down to riders, increasing the cost of a ride.

Local news has recently reported that Charlotte is preparing to charge the companies a “dynamic pricing” structure which equates to various monthly fees that depend on how riders use their scooters.  For example, the companies could be charged more when riders park scooters inappropriately, don’t wear helmets or park scooters in low-usage areas. In turn, the cities hope that the companies will encourage their riders to ride with helmets, not block sidewalks or park near mass transit and high-use areas.  This “good behavior” would save the companies money as opposed to having to pay more for rider bad behavior. At the time of this post, no exact details on the pricing plan have been released.

Most other scooter friendly cities in NC charge the scooter companies a type of annual fee, though they are not uniform. For example, Greensboro charges $50 per scooter and Durham charges $100. In Raleigh the city is charged a $300 annual per-scooter fee which has caused them to charge riders a $2 per trip surcharge.  It remains to be seen how Charlotte will be affected once this planned pricing structure has been implemented.  Any of these programs that result in the cities becoming safer is a good thing. Unfortunately, there is no news on plans to enforce any liability insurance requirements for riders. With our office receiving regular calls on injuries related to electronic scooters, it is important to note that it can be very difficult to recover against a negligent scooter rider or any other negligent person if there is no insurance coverage. Maybe that issue will someday be resolved.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident in Charlotte, or elsewhere in the Carolinas, give us a call. Our team of experienced lawyers want to see if they can help.  We are happy to speak to you about the facts of your case to find out if we are able to help. Anyone that calls will receive a free case evaluation to find out more about their options for moving forward after their accident. Call us at 855-969-5671 to speak to someone today!

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The principal office for Auger & Auger Law Firm is located at 717 S. Torrence St., Suite 101, Charlotte, NC. The attorneys and staff of Auger & Auger Law Firm work and process all of the firm’s files at the principal office location in Charlotte, NC. Other office locations listed on our website are satellite offices that are not staffed daily. Satellite offices are operated for the convenience of our clients and who live outside of the Charlotte, NC metro area and are unable to meet with us at our principal office location. All meetings at our satellite offices must be made by appointment only. Phone numbers for satellite offices forward to our principle office location in Charlotte, NC.

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