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Raleigh DWI Attorney Considers New Laws to Curb Use of Cell Phones While Driving

Howard Kurtz - 8/15/2017

Raleigh DWI Lawyer Ponders New Laws to Curb Use of Cell Phones While Driving 

It seems that the use of your cell phone while driving may become the next big thing that you'll need a DWI attorney to defend you in court.

That, at least, is the scenario you would face in Washington state, where a new "E-DUI" law was recently passed. It prohibits the use of any electronic device while driving, even while a driver has stopped in traffic or at a traffic light. The first citation would come with a $136 fine, and a second citation within five years would cost $236.

Washington was the 14th state to mandate drivers to put down their phones, and it seems they might not be the last. A law on "driving under the influence of electronics" is under consideration in Massachusetts, and in Idaho there is support for legislation similar to Washington's.

Could a similar law come to North Carolina? Or should it?

There's only a texting ban – for now

Currently, it is not against state law for motorists over 18 years old to hold their cellphones while driving. Nor is it illegal for them to make calls, or to use a smartphone or a tablet's GPS features to navigate. While texting while driving is NOT allowed, you are allowed to text while your vehicle is parked or not in motion.

To be clear, all drivers are forbidden from composing, reading, or sending text messages and e-mails while driving. Fines range anywhere from $25 to $100.

All drivers under the age of 18 are also barred from any kind of cellphone use.

Bills seeking to completely ban hand-held cellphone use were filed in 2011 and 2012, but none of them were approved.

How effective would a blanket ban be?

The efforts of other states to ensure people drive safely are commendable. However, all-encompassing bans on electronic devices are questionable.

First, it is unfair to compare motorists distracted by cellphone use to drivers intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. While their actions might have similar repercussions – property damage, injury, and death – they simply cannot be equated.

Second, prohibiting all use of electronics does not necessarily ensure a driver's complete focus on the road. Even if cellphones are prohibited, distractions still surround drivers – beginning with their vehicle's own radios or distractions caused by other passengers.

So, what's the difference between using a car radio and using a smartphone to play music in the car?

And what's the difference between talking to companions in the backseat or talking to someone over a hands-free phone?

To be sure, it seems that the state might simply wish to add to its coffers through collected fines if it makes all cellphone use while driving illegal, but such restrictions are not likely to significantly curb distractions on the road.

Whichever way North Carolina's laws on driving shape up, if you find yourself in trouble, Kurtz & Blum can provide you with a solid legal defense team of experienced traffic and DWI attorneys.

We will provide all of the necessary assistance to see your case through with the least amount of damage and get you safely back on the road.

Sources:

Washington state enacts new ‘E-DUI' law for driving under the influence of phones. FOXNews.com. July 18, 2017.
New ‘E-DUI' law cracks down on driving under influence of phones. WCNC.com. July 20, 2017.
North Carolina Distracted Driving Laws. DMV.com.



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