Is it illegal to text and drive in North Carolina?

Man Texting While Driving Through North CarolinaAny form of distracted driving is unsafe, but using a cell phone while driving is one of the most dangerous types of distractions that lead to accidents. In North Carolina, it is illegal to text and drive. Violating this law can result in stiff fines and harsh penalties if you are a school bus or commercial truck driver.

What Is North Carolina’s Law on Texting and Driving?

While most motorists over 18 years old are allowed to talk on a cell phone while driving, texting while driving is banned. North Carolina is a “primary law” state, which means that the police can stop you and issue you a ticket solely for violating this law. It is illegal for drivers to:

  • Manually enter letters or text in a cell phone in an effort to communicate with another individual
  • Read an e-mail or text transmitted to or stored in an electronic device

There are exceptions to this ban on texting and driving. It will not apply in these situations:

  • The driver is lawfully parked or stopped
  • The person is a police officer, firefighter, or ambulance driver texting while they are performing official duties
  • The technology used is a factory-installed or after-purchased GPS
  • The person is using voice-operated technology

A violation of this traffic law is a civil infraction that is punishable by a $100 fine. A person will not have drivers’ license points placed on his driving record or face higher insurance costs.                                                                               

If the individual violating the texting ban is a school bus driver, it would be a Class 2 misdemeanor, not a civil infraction. The penalty is a fine of at least $100.

There are more severe penalties if the person is driving a commercial vehicle. Commercial truck drivers are also prohibited from texting and driving under federal regulations. Two convictions within three years will result in the person’s commercial license being suspended for 60 days while three convictions within this time period could result in a 120-day revocation.

Did you receive a traffic ticket for texting while driving in Charlotte? Our experienced criminal defense attorneys are here to answer your questions and help you achieve the best possible outcome with fewer long-term consequences. Call our Charlotte office today to schedule your free consultation.