Bill Summary for H 144 (2019-2020)

Summary date: 

Mar 12 2019

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2019-2020 Session
House Bill 144 (Public) Filed Thursday, February 21, 2019
AN ACT MAKING IT UNLAWFUL TO OPERATE A VEHICLE ON A PUBLIC STREET, HIGHWAY, OR PUBLIC VEHICULAR AREA WHILE ENGAGING IN DISTRACTED BEHAVIOR.
Intro. by Corbin, Torbett, Hardister, Pierce.

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Bill summary

House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 1st edition.

Amends proposed GS 20-137.3A as follows. Deletes the definition of motor vehicle, adds and defines the term school bus, and specifies that the term texting refers to manually entering text into, or reading text from, a wireless communication device. Adds a prohibition on people under age 18 from operating a vehicle while using a wireless communication device except (1) to follow the route recommend by a navigation system, if the address information is entered before operating the vehicle and (2) as provided in (d)(1) of the statute which allows for the use of a wireless communication device to communicate an emergency to the specified entities. Makes conforming changes.

Extends the exceptions to the prohibited conduct to allow for the use of a wireless communication device by (1) the operator of a vehicle registered to a public utility or communications service provider when the operator is employed by the utility or service provider using the device to carry out official duties or (2) an amateur radio operator responding to an emergency situation. Deletes the exception to the prohibition on operating a motor vehicle while a wireless communication device is in the person's hand or while physically holding or supporting a wireless communication device with the person's body, in instances when the device is affixed, mounted, or installed in the vehicle and used to handle a call by touching a single button if the person is 18 years or older or used to follow an electronic navigation system when the address information is entered before operation of the vehicle.

Adds that nothing in the statute prohibits the use of equipment installed by the manufacturer and integrated into the vehicle by any person while operating a motor vehicle.

Adds a new penalty for a person who violates the statute while operating a school bus, making the person subject to the already stated penalties but making the violation a Class 2 misdemeanor instead of an infraction. Makes additional clarifying and conforming changes to the penalties. 

Makes conforming changes to proposed GS 58-36-75(i).

Amends GS 20-11 as follows. Prohibits limited learner's permit holders and limited provisional license holders from using a wireless communication devices while operating a motor vehicle (was, prohibits the use of a mobile telephone or other additional technology associated with a mobile telephone). Amends the criteria to be met in order to obtain such permits and licenses to require that the individual have not been convicted of a violation of new GS 20-137.3A (was, a violation of GS 20-137.3, which makes it unlawful for a person under age 18 to use a mobile phone while driving). Makes additional conforming changes. Makes the failure to comply with restrictions regarding the use of a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle an infraction punishable under GS 20-137.3A (was, failure to comply with the restriction regarding the use of a mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle in an infraction punishable by a $25 fine). 

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