Bill would ban cell phone use while driving in NC

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – As you’re zipping along busy roads like the Beltline, just a moment’s distraction can make a big difference.

After a moment’s distraction cost one mother her son, and now she’s trying to get the law changed. A phone call was behind the crash that claimed 17-year-old Brian Garlock’s life, his mother said.

“Brian made a mistake, and it cost him everything,” Tammy Garlock said.

The Brian Garlock Act, introduced Thursday, would make it illegal to use a phone while driving. Those using a hands-free device would be exempted.

“And as quick as you think you are at reading a text or an email or whatever, someday you may not be fast enough,” Garlock said.

State Sen. Jeff Tarte (R-Mecklenburg County) said he consulted with the State Highway Patrol and district attorneys before filing the bill.

“When you are in a situation where you’re in a multi-thousand-pound vehicle that basically can kill somebody else based on your driving behavior, I think most people are at a point where they believe the person driving the car needs to be focused,” he said.

North Carolina already has a ban on texting while driving, but Tarte said it has been difficult to enforce.

The new law would stick violators with a $200 fine. Using GPS and a phone would be legal while stopped at a light, under the proposed law.

Michael Sanders knows about the dangers distracted drivers can pose.

“Oh, I see everything from women putting makeup on while they’re driving to reading newspapers, texting,” he said. “I’ve personally been hit by a car when they were texting.”

Garlock said she hopes the law will save a life.

“There’s just no way to describe what it’s like to see that empty chair at your table,” she said.

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