Texting and Talking on the Phone While Driving in North Carolina

Read about North Carolina’s distracted driving laws and the costs of a violation.

North Carolina's distracted driving law generally bans texting-while-driving for all motorists and talking on a cell phone for only certain drivers. This article discusses the specifics of what the law prohibits and the costs and other consequences of a violation.

North Carolina's Cell Phone Law

For most North Carolina motorists, there aren't any restrictions on talking on a cell phone while driving. However, the state has cell phone restrictions for certain drivers.

School Bus Operators and Drivers Under the Age of 18

However, school bus drivers and drivers who are under the age of 18 are prohibited from using cellphones and cellphone features—including cameras, Internet, games, and music players—while operating the bus or vehicle. This prohibition applies only when the bus or vehicle is actually in motion.

Exceptions to the Phone Restriction

Bus drivers and underage motorists are permitted to use cell phones in emergency situations. And for underage drivers, there's an exception to the cell phone ban for communicating with a parent, guardian, or spouse.

Fines for Cell Phone Tickets in North Carolina

Bus drivers. A bus driver's cell phone violation is a class 2 misdemeanor and carries a fine of at least $100.

Minor drivers. Underage cellphone violations are infractions with a fine of $25.

Points. No demerit points are assessed for either type of violation.

Texting and Email While Driving in North Carolina

North Carolina's distracted driving law prohibits all motorists from texting and emailing while driving. Generally, the ban includes entering and reading text messages and email.

Exceptions to North Carolina's Texting-While-Driving Prohibition

The texting and email law doesn't apply to:

  • motorists who are lawfully parked or stopped
  • law enforcement officers, firefighters, or ambulance drivers while performing official duties
  • factory-installed or aftermarket GPS systems, or
  • voice-operated technologies.

Fines for Texting Tickets in North Carolina

School bus drivers. School bus drivers who violate the texting law are guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor and must pay a fine of at least $100.

Other drivers. All other violators are guilty of an infraction and face a $100 fine.

Points. Texting violations won't add demerit points to a motorist's driving record.

Serious Charges That Can Result from Distracted Driving

Depending on the circumstances, a texting violation could also lead to a reckless driving conviction. And if a texting violation results in the death of another person, death-by-vehicle charges are a possibility.

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