AN ACT TO MAKE USING A MOBILE TELEPHONE OR ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION DEVICE UNLAWFUL WHILE OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE ON A PUBLIC STREET, HIGHWAY, OR PUBLIC VEHICULAR AREA UNLESS HANDS-FREE EQUIPMENT IS USED BY THE OPERATOR.
Repeals the following statutes: (1) GS 20-137.3 (Unlawful use of a mobile phone by persons under 18 years of age); (2) GS 20-137.4 (Unlawful use of a mobile phone); and (3) GS 20-137.4A (Unlawful use of mobile telephone for text messaging or electronic mail).
Enacts new GS 20-137.3A to prohibit driving while using a mobile telephone or electronic communication device unless it is done using hands free equipment; violations are an infraction with a $100 fine and no court costs. Prohibits a person under age 18 from driving while using a mobile phone or electronic communication device except when communicating an emergency to a specified entity; violations are an infraction with a $25 fine, with no court costs. Prohibits driving a school bus while using a mobile phone or electronic communication device except when communicating an emergency to a specified entity; violations are a Class 2 misdemeanor, including a fine of not less than $100 and the costs of court. Prohibits operating a commercial motor vehicle while using a mobile telephone or electronic communication device; however, does not (1) prohibit the use of hands‑free equipment or (2) supersede any more restrictive provisions for operators of commercial motor vehicles prescribed by federal law or regulation. Violations while operating a commercial motor vehicle are an infraction with a $100 fine and no court costs Specifies exceptions to these prohibitions, including using a global positioning system, navigation system, or portable music player affixed, mounted, or installed in a motor vehicle (although does not authorize a person to manually type or enter text, numbers, or symbols into a global positioning system, navigation system, or portable music player while driving) and use of a mobile telephone or electronic communication device by specified public safety officers while in the performance of, and for a purpose related to, their official duties. Creates a rebuttable presumption that a person holding a mobile telephone or electronic communication device in his or her hand or hands while driving is using a mobile telephone or electronic communication device. Prohibits a insurance premium surcharge or assessment of points under the classification plan adopted under GS 58‑36‑65 for a violation of the statute. Requires that one driver's license point be assessed for subsequent offenses committed during specified timeframes. Prohibits local governments from passing any ordinance regulating the use of mobile telephones or electronic communication devices while operating a motor vehicle, commercial motor vehicle, or school bus.
Makes conforming changes to GS 20-16.
Effective December 1, 2015, and applies to offenses committed on or after that date.
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