Distracted driving is a serious problem on North Carolina roads.
The most recent crash statistics from NCDOT show 55,000 distracted driving accidents each year [1-in-5 of ALL accidents on our roads], with 24,000 injuries and over 150 deaths.
North Carolinians want something done.
A Meredith College Polling program statewide survey conducted in February 2019, 79.3% agreed with the statement ‘it’s time for the state legislature to do something about distracted driving’ and 83.1% supported enactment of a hands-free law.
Support is consistent within partisan affiliation (85% Dems, 85.9% Rep, 81.8% Unaffiliated); even among the self-identified conservative respondents in the survey, support for a hands-free law is 77.6%.
Law enforcement supports a hands-free driving law (NC Sheriffs’ Association and NC Chiefs of Police support a hands-free driving law), and Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey has warned that unless we do something the growing number of distracted driving accidents and injuries could force auto insurance rates up for everyone.
And, the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL, NC is a member) agrees hands-free driving laws are needed and is working to create a model hands-free driving to promote adoption in all 50 states (SB 20 contains the elements of NCOIL draft proposal).
A hands-free driving law is an enforceable, common sense approach.
Not all forms of motorist distractions can be addressed with a law – think daydreaming and unruly children in the car – but a prohibition on holding a device while driving is enforceable because it’s observable by law enforcement, and it does address one of the most common forms of districted driving.
North Carolina already prohibits texting or e-mailing while driving – given smart phones can do so much more, keeping the device out of the driver’s hands altogether is just a logical driving safety enhancement.