North Carolina Telephones: What you need to know

There is currently no prohibition on the use of handheld cell phones and other communications devices to speak to another person while driving, except drivers with learner's permits and provisional licenses and those drivers under the age of 18 (unless they are calling their parents).
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School bus drivers may not use cell phones while operating the vehicle.
It is against the law for a driver in North Carolina to manually enter text or multiple numbers into a personal communications device or read a text mail or message sent to the device from another person if the vehicle is being operated on a public street, highway, or public vehicular area. The use of e-mail and the Internet while driving is prohibited (NC Gen. Stat. Sec. 20-137.4).
A driver, except for the operator of a school bus, may send or read text messages while completely legally stopped or parked. A driver may send and listen to voice-operated messages while driving.
This statute does not apply to the use of factory‑installed or aftermarket global positioning systems or digital dispatch systems.
Violation of this statute is a primary traffic offense. Violators are fined, but no points are given against their driver's licenses.
In June 2014, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that state law regulating roads preempts local ordinances regulating cell phone use and specifically precludes Chapel Hill's prohibition on cell phone use while driving (King v. Town of Chapel Hill No. 281PA13 (N.C. June 12, 2014).
Last reviewed July 2014.

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