Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “Is a tractor-trailer accident the same as an automobile accident?”
North Carolina lawmakers were surprised when the state lost an opportunity to receive grant money from the federal government that would have gone towards efforts to fund a campaign aimed at warning drivers about the dangers of distraction behind the wheel. North Carolina, along with 31 other states, lost the money because the Department of Transportation decided that the state’s existing texting laws were not strict enough.
Many people understand that North Carolina law prohibits texting and driving and might therefore be confused to learn that the state’s law did not measure up, at least according to guidelines created by the Department of Transportation. According to the DOT, for a state to receive the $300,000 grant it would have to have in place stringent measures that prevented drivers from engaging in a range of distracted driving.
North Carolina already has primary enforcement laws in place, a step in the right direction. These primary laws allow police officers to pull over people for texting alone and do not require another offense to justify pulling a car over. However, the DOT says that North Carolina’s law failed to define “texting” and “driving” in ways that were tough enough.
For instance, North Carolina’s law defines “texting” as either texting or emailing from a cellphone. The DOT wanted all states that receive the grant to have texting defined more broadly to include things like surfing the web and using a tablet computer, not just a smart phone. Another problem was North Carolina’s definition of “driving.” The state’s law says that texting is prohibited when the car is in motion, but is permitted when the car is stopped, even temporarily. Federal regulations say that texting is prohibited when a car is only temporarily stopped, a distinction that North Carolina’s law lacked.
North Carolina officials say they are disappointed to lose out on the money and had hoped that it could be used to fund a campaign to warn young drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. Legislators will now have to consider whether further changes should be made to the state’s distracted driving laws to bring the state into compliance with guidelines issued by the DOT. Given that distracted driving is estimated to be responsible for nearly 400,000 auto injuries every year, it likely couldn’t hurt to tighten up the language of the measure.
If you, or someone you know, have any questions regarding personal injury claims, please feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys and lawyers in Charlotte, North Carolina at Arnold & Smith, PLLC for a free consultation. Call at 704-370-2828.
About the Author:
Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member with Arnold & Smith, PLLC where he focuses his practice on Personal Injury, Family Law and Business Litigation. Mr. Arnold began his career handling insurance defense litigation for several major insurance companies. He also went on to handle business litigation cases and high value mortgage fraud cases, primarily in Superior Court.
Mr. Arnold grew up in Charlotte, graduating from Providence Senior High School and continued his education at Belmont Abbey College on a basketball scholarship. After graduating cum laude he attended law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship. In his spare time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time on the North Carolina Coast with his wife and three young children: two daughters and one son.
“States lose out on federal distracted-driving grants,” by Larry Copeland, published at USAToday.com.
See Our Related Videos From Our YouTube Channel:
See Our Related Blog Posts: