Law enforcement, drivers prepare for N.C. texting ban | SCNow

Law Enforcement, drivers prepare for N.C. Texting Ban

Starting Tuesday, North Carolina residents and those who drive through the state who text behind the wheel, will need to pull over to avoid fines.

Right now 14-states and the District of Columbia ban all drivers from typing text messages when they are at the wheel.

North Carolina becomes the 15th state on December 1st, 2009.

The new law makes it illegal to text or read any e-mail or text message while driving.

Many drivers targeted by the new legislation, including teenagers, say the law is definitely needed.

“I have some friends that text while driving and they kind of almost got into wrecks by doing it and still they do it,“ said Lumberton High School senior Andrea Locklear, who supports the new law.

“I think it’s not safe because I wouldn’t want one of my friends to get hurt or to get a call saying they got in a wreck because they were texting,“ Locklear said.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol says Robeson county ranks first in the state when it comes to deadly wrecks involving teens, and they say a big factor is texting while driving.

“They’re the most vulnerable, they’re inexperienced drivers, they need to be focused on the road, not texting and talking to other people in the vehicle, just focused specifically on driving,“ said First Sgt. Freddy Johnson of the North Carolina Highway Patrol.

The bill’s main sponsor, Representative Garland Pierce of North Carolina, says he was inspired to make a change after seeing and hearing about so many accidents involving texting.

“I’ve had other bills passed but none of this significance that just has a whole impact on the state of North Carolina, and an impact especially on our young people to try to keep them safe while driving,“ Pierce said.

While many teens and officers say it may take a while for the seriousness of the new law to sink in, they also say the fines that come along with breaking it will be the best deterrent of all.

“Once the cops stop people they will take it seriously, especially if the fine’s high… because I worked today and I know I don’t want to give my money up,“ said Lumberton High School senior Courtney Britt, who supports the texting ban.

The penalty for texting while driving is made up of a $100 fine as well as court costs that can run more than $130 dollars.

Law enforcement officers and other safety officials are exempt from the texting ban.