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NC Legislators Seek To Outlaw All Cell Phone Use While Driving

The state's ban on texting while driving has been controversial to say the least. We have previously posted about the confusing and vague nature of the law, as well as some important loopholes.

Now North Carolina legislators are going even further in their fight to outlaw distracted driving. Two new bills are currently being considered which would outlaw cell phone use in its entirety while driving. Texting while driving is already off the table. Now state lawmakers are trying to outlaw dialing, talking, surfing the web, playing games and even selecting music.

Both bills are still in committee and it will likely take time for them to come to a vote. In the mean time, sponsors of the bill are hosting media events to garner support. The state House leader from Mecklenburg County recently held a press demonstration at the North Carolina Highway Patrol's driver-safety training course.

During the demonstration, he showed that distracted driving can even be dangerous when driving 1-2 mph on a golf cart. Apparently, using a cell phone while golf-carting was distracting enough that the driver in the demonstration blew through a stop sign and hit several of the course's orange safety cones.

To strengthen his argument, the legislator noted that a car traveling at 55 mph covers 88 feet per second. Therefore, it doesn't take more than a few seconds of distracted driving to cause serious injury or death.

It is unclear at this point how much support these two bills will receive. Commuters must spend a lot of time in their cars, and cell phones are an essential part of our daily lives. Therefore, the bills are likely to face a lot of public backlash.

Still, these same legislators were able to pass a texting ban which has so far resulted in over 1,200 citations being issued. And both new bills do specifically make exceptions for hands-free phone devices in the car. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that an all-out cell phone ban might not be far away.

We'll bring you more updates about this legislation as it becomes available.

Source: newsobserver.com, "Legislators learn about cell phone risks," Craig Jarvis, 24 February 2011

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