RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A bill aimed at prohibiting drivers from using a cellphone behind the wheel is drawing support from both sides of the aisle and from across the state.
HB 144, dubbed Hands Free NC, would make it illegal to touch or support a cellphone while driving. Phone calls would be permitted if the driver uses speakerphone or Bluetooth, or if the phone is affixed, mounted or installed. Drivers could also continue to use navigation and listen to music, but only if it’s started before the car starts.
Families who lost loved ones due to distracted driving took part in a press conference Wednesday alongside both Democratic and Republican sponsors of the bill to show support for the measure.
Dana Mingus lost her 19-year-old daughter in a texting and driving accident. Her daughter was the passenger. She says if this bill doesn’t pass, she’s worried about the rate lives will continue to be lost to distracted driving.
“This will happen to you,” Mingus said. “It’s going to be your kids, your grandkids, your husband, your wife, it’s going to be somebody that you love that you want here and need here and miss. I had to go to my daughter’s grave Saturday for her birthday, and we blew bubbles and got a cake and me and two of her friends went and ate dinner. She should have been there.”
Lawmakers say the bill would eliminate texting, video chats, watching videos, playing games or checking social media by the driver. The conditions would apply at red lights.
Sixteen other states have passed similar hands-free bills.