There is a new bill in the state senate from Republican Michael Lee of New Hanover County that requires anyone driving a car to use a hands-free device for cell calls. The aim is to reduce the number of accidents – and deaths – caused by distracted drivers. However some believe such a law may not be enough.
North Carolina would become the 15th state to require hands-free use of cellphones while driving, if the bill becomes law.
But does Senate Bill 364 go far enough in the battle against distracted driving?
“Actually I think it is really dangerous.”
Doug Darrell is the founder of StreetSafe, a Wilmington-based program that teaches young, inexperienced drivers to become safer and more responsible on the road.
“What the studies are showing is hands free is just as dangerous talking with the phone in your hand.”
Those studies include one from the National Safety Council, which found that 80% of drivers across America incorrectly believe that hands-free devices are safer than using a handheld phone.
AAA Carolina strongly supports the bill. Tiffany Wright is a spokesperson for AAA.
“This isn’t anything radical. This is a matter of public safety and it could help save lives and several states have already passed similar legislation so we are definitely behind it.”
Wright also agrees that even more needs to be done.
“We would love for everyone to never use mobile devices in a car at all. For right now, it’s not something practical, getting folks behind that. So I think this is a step in the right direction.”
The bill passed its first reading, and is now with the Senate Rules committee
Read Senate Bill 364
AAA Carolinas Statement on the Senate Bill