The Dangers of Distracted Driving

distracted drivingIf you have a problem “disconnecting” from your phone, you’re not alone. We live in a plugged-in world. We keep our cell phones within arm’s reach and often take our laptops to bed. With so many work and family commitments, attempting to multi-task has become the norm. Granted, the media and medical professionals have been telling us for years that too much screen time is bad for our eyes, our brains, and our mental health, but when a driver decides to multi-task behind the wheel, the end result can be tragic.


With the increase of drivers on the road this holiday season, we encourage you to keep your eyes, hands, and mind on the road to avoid a big lump of coal in the form of legal trouble in your Christmas stocking. As such, today we’ll be discussing types of distracted driving and the law.

Types of Distracted Driving

Police typically look for three main types of distraction when they are on patrol:

  1. Visual: taking your eyes off the road
  2. Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
  3. Cognitive: taking your mind off the task of driving

We often blame cell phones for distracting drivers, but there are other equally dangerous activities that can distract you while you’re driving. Anything that takes a driver’s eyes, hands, and/or mind off the road is fair game. These include:

  1. Programming your navigation system
  2. Adjusting the radio
  3. Eating or drinking while driving
  4. Personal grooming such as applying make-up or shaving
  5. Attending to children or other passengers

Distracted Driving in North Carolina

While North Carolina does not completely ban cell phone use while driving for voice communication, most other activities using your handheld devices are classified as primary offenses. Illegal driving distractions pertaining to the use of electronic devices include:

  • Pressing multiple buttons on a handheld device to communicate or browse the internet
  • Reading email or messages received or stored by the handheld device, with the exception of contact information
  • Using any features of the device that require the use of either hand, such as smartphone applications

Texting while driving is also unlawful throughout the entire state on public streets and highways, with a few exceptions, including when:

  • The driver is fully stopped or parked.
  • The driver is a law enforcement officer, member of a fire department or an ambulance driver and is texting or using a device to perform official duties.
  • The driver is using a navigation system like a GPS.
  • The driver is using voice-operated devices or other hands-free technology.

Therefore, it is important for you to be mindful while driving and avoid texting while driving as it is one of the most dangerous forms of distractions on the road.

Distracted Driving Penalties in North Carolina

For most licensed drivers in North Carolina, distracted driving penalties include a $100 fine and an infraction conviction. Texting and driving violations do not accumulate demerit points on driving records and are not something that patrolling officers are specifically looking for. However, drivers must be aware that there may be other penalties and charges as a result of distracted driving. For example, distracted driving can lead to reckless driving convictions and vehicular homicide charges if an accident results in a fatality.

Durham attorney, Kevin E. Jones, can help you if you find yourself with a distracted driving citation, traffic violation, injury and other legal matters in an ethical and proper manner.  Don’t let your health, finances and overall wellbeing suffer because you’re unaware of your legal rights. Contact Kevin E Jones before making any final decisions.  Things happen and many people go without the proper representation when they need it most. Don’t be just another number. Call now for help from our lawyer.