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While illegal, texting while driving can be difficult to prove

It is not uncommon for a person to get briefly distracted by his or her phone. The urge to quickly send a message, comment on a Facebook status or check an email is too tempting for some. However, under the state law in North Carolina, drivers who are cited for texting and driving are committing a traffic violation and can be fined. Even if it is just for a second, being distracted while driving can cause serious accidents.

In an informal observational study done by NBC-17, nearly a quarter of drivers were seen either holding a phone or talking on a phone. Based on the information that was collected from 500 drivers that were observed, sources estimated that drivers in North Carolina spend 95 million hours texting while driving.

It should be noted that speaking on a phone or making a call while driving is not against the law. Texting while driving, however, is definitely against the law. The fact is that it is difficult for an officer to enforce the law because it is not always possible to prove that a driver was texting or searching in the Internet.

A driver who is pulled over for suspected texting can claim that he or she was not texting but dialing their phone. An officer can ask to see the phone for proof, but without a search warrant, drivers do not need to allow an officer to take their phones.

A person who is cited for texting and driving can expect to receive a $100 fine. It is important for drivers to remember, though, that additional charges of distracted driving or similar traffic violations can have serious consequences. In addition to fines, a driver can face jail time or revocation of driving privileges. In many cases, though, traffic violations and charges can be legally challenged.

Source: NBC-17, "Getting Answers: Cracking down on distracted drivers," Penn Holderness, Feb. 23, 2012

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