A proposal to make it unlawful to operate a wireless communications device while driving on public streets, highways or vehicular area in North Carolina has been introduced in Raleigh.
The measure is titled “The Hands Free NC Act” and was filed on February 21 and passed the first reading in the House on Monday (February 25).
The bi-partisan measure was introduced by four primary sponsors, three Republicans and one Democrat, and is backed by forty-two other representatives.
It would not include situations where the motor vehicle is off, or to the side of, a public street, highway, or public vehicular area.
Exceptions would be for:
The use of a wireless communication device affixed, mounted, or installed in a motor vehicle to initiate, answer, or terminate a call by touching a single button, if the person is 18 years or older.
Follow the route recommended by an electronic navigation system so long as all address information is entered before operating the vehicle.
The use of a wireless communication device for the purpose of communicating an emergency situation to any of the following: an emergency response operator, a publicly or privately owned ambulance company or service, a hospital, a fire department, a law enforcement agency.
The use of a wireless communication device by any of the following while in the performance of official duties: a law enforcement officer, a member of a fire department, the operator of a public or private ambulance, a first responder responsible for the protection and preservation of life, property, evidence, or the environment.
Fine amounts would be:
First offense. – A person with no prior offense, or no offense in the prior 36 months, shall be guilty of an infraction, a fine of one hundred dollars ($100.00), and no insurance points.
Second offense. – A person guilty of a first offense occurring within the previous 36 months shall be guilty of an infraction, a fine of one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00), and insurance points.
Third and subsequent offenses. – A person guilty of two or more offenses occurring within the previous 36 months shall be guilty of an infraction, a fine of two hundred dollars ($200.00), and insurance points.
The bill has been moved to the Committee on Transportation for further review.