No texting, driving across North Carolina

14 Jul 2009 | Bryce C.K. Muhlenberg

Governor Beverly Perdue recently signed a new law requiring North Carolina citizens to follow similar driving rules established years ago.

Taking effect December 1, the law will require drivers to pull to the side of the road before texting or e-mailing anywhere in North Carolina.  

"If an officer has a reasonable suspicion that you are texting while driving, there's a possibility that he'll pull you over," explained State Representative Earl Jones, in an interview with WFMY News recently.   "I felt this type of legislation protects the public."

The use of factory-installed or aftermarket GPS or wireless communications devices and voice operated systems are allowed.

 North Carolina is the most recent state to pass these laws in an attempt to reduce careless accidents and loss of life.

 “Anything to keep people focused on the road is good in my book,” said Lance Cpl. Curtis B. Thornton, a patrolman with Military Police Company, Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.  “We lose enough Marines to wrecks as it is, so this should help people become less distracted.”

According to the bill, violators can face up to $100 in fines plus court costs.  Even if fines may be heavy, violator’s insurance rates will not be affected and no additional points will be added to his or her driver's licenses.

Thornton also added that for those individuals who think they can skirt the law, it isn’t going to be that easy. 

“It’s usually not that hard to tell who is and isn’t texting, it’s obvious in how they are driving and the movements they are making within the car,” said Thonton.

Marines who violate the law out in town will still receive punishment through the Marine Corps, said Master Sgt. Andrew B. Allen, the assistant magistrate for Marine Corps Base.

“There are consequences for all off-base tickets,” said Allen.  “Depending on the severity of the crime and what the judge says, you can receive four points against your on-base driving privileges to a loss of 30 days of on-base driving, and even beyond that.”

With this new law in effect, Marines can now stand assured their fellow North Carolinians are remaining as disciplined and safe as they are.