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Best ideas to avoid accident caused by texting and smartphones

Wilmington auto accident attorneyState legislators in North Carolina are considering a crackdown on smartphone use and driving with a plan to ban the hand-held use of such devices on the road.

Fines up to $200 and insurance point penalties would be imposed under the bill from North Carolina lawmakers to crack down on smartphone use and driving. The bill excludes seizure or forfeiture of the wireless device, according to the Mooresville Tribune.

The proposal is known as House Bill 144 in the General Assembly of North Carolina. If the North Carolina legislature and Gov. Roy Cooper sign the bill into law, it would take effect Jan. 1, 2020. Warnings could be issued for the first six months following the legislation becoming law, under the bill.

The four primary sponsors of the plan for North Carolina lawmakers to crack down on smartphone use and driving are representatives Jon Hardister, R-Guilford, Kevin Corbin, R-Franklin, John A. Torbett, R-Stanley and Garland E. Pierce, D-Scotland County.

What the law prohibits

The “Hands Free NC” proposal would prohibit the use of a wireless device in the driver’s hand or being supported by the driver’s body. The bill would prohibit drivers from watching videos or movies or taking videos on the wireless device.

The bill would authorize law enforcement officers to stop drivers merely for holding a phone, whereas currently, such officers must cite speeding, failure to wear a seat belt or another alleged violation as a reason for stopping drivers.

Under the proposed bill, drivers 18 and older would be allowed to use a smartphone or other kind of wireless device only if the device is mounted or attached in the vehicle and the use of which can begin and end with a single button push.  A smartphone’s GPS could be used by a driver if the address was programmed into the device before operation of the vehicle began.

Exemptions would be provided in the proposed North Carolina legislation to let emergency responders and police and other officials use smartphones while driving in the course of their duties.

The plan for North Carolina lawmakers to crack down on cell phone use and driving is intended to improve public safety. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: “Numerous studies conducted with driving simulators and on-road driving suggest that using a cell phone while driving, particularly visual-manual interaction, can significantly impair driving performance.”

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study consisted of using in-vehicle video to monitor 3,593 drivers over several months by examining drivers’ smartphone use immediately prior to crashes, as well as during ordinary driving. Among the study’s findings:

  • Drivers’ odds of involvement in a crash while texting more than doubled
  • The visual-manual requirements of using a smartphone while driving increased drivers’ odds of rear-ending a vehicle by more than a multiple of seven
  • The association between smartphone conversation alone and crash involvement was statistically insignificant.

An official with AAA said the organization supports the proposed bill from North Carolina lawmakers to crack down on smartphone use and driving to fight the distracted-driver “epidemic,” make roads safer and preserve lives.

Passage of the bill might not be a lock. Mitch Kokai, policy analyst with the John Locke Foundation think tank of Raleigh, North Carolina, said that opposition to the bill could occur based on the measure being seen as control by an “overly aggressive nanny state.” Some might see existing distracted-driving laws as being sufficient, he said.

Most states ban texting on a smartphone while driving. Arizona is considering such a ban, and if the Grand Canyon State establishes the prohibition, Montana would be the only state without a ban on texting while driving.

For help in relation to accidents involving smartphone use and other accidents contact the Law Offices of Richard Flexner in North Carolina today.

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