June 27, 2019
Have you heard about HB 144 Hands Free NC Act? It is a Hands Free bill that will prohibit North Carolina drivers from holding a cell phone while driving. Drivers would not be able to text, surf the web, nor social media while driving. If caught the driver would receive a fine. This bill has been passionately supported by the Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina (IIANC). As your insurance agent and a director on the board with IIANC I wanted to explain to you why I feel so strongly this bill is needed.
When it was first presented to me I had doubts. I am not someone who believes adding additional legislation is always necessary. As I researched and read the statistics around distracted driving I changed my mind. O’Connor Insurance has seen a huge increase in car accidents in our office. We don’t have the statistics to support that it is due to distracted driving but we feel strongly it is. Currently in North Carolina it is illegal to text and drive. However, officers are not able to prove a driver is texting even if a phone is visible in the driver’s hand. A law that isn’t able to be enforced is irrelevant.
The state of Georgia passed similar legislation and in the first 6 months saw a decrease in the number of car accidents. Car accidents in the most minor form are a huge inconvenience. You may have to miss work, you have to take the car for estimates, if you sell the car there is an accident report associated with it. In the worse case scenario car accidents are deadly. Distracted driving has resulted in too many accidents and way too many fatalities.
Just last week my entire family was in our car when a driver driving in the opposite direction crossed the center line while visibly looking at her cell phone. Thankfully my husband saw it and had time to honk and she moved back over. Had he not had that extra few seconds we would have been hit head on.
Polling has shown the citizens of North Carolina are overwhelmingly in favorite of this bill, just shy of 80%! Please join us in contacting your North Carolina senator and letting him/her know you support the passage of this bill. This important legislation needs addressed now before anyone else loses a loved one to a senseless text message. Click here to find your North Carolina state senator.
As of June 27th, 2019 I received word that HB 144 will not be taken up by the Senate Commerce and Insurance Committee before the end of the legislative session. I am disappointed but hopeful the support and momentum that was created will carry into the 2020 session. Please continue to practice hands free driving and let your senator know you are in support of HB 144.