Only four states in the U.S. currently ban cell phone use while driving. Florida appears ready to join the list, as the newest version of a bill banning all cell phone use while driving has just been filed. North Carolina will probably not be joining that list anytime soon.
Last year, during the 2011-2012 Legislative sessions, Garland Pierce, Democrat-Scotland, introduced a bill banning all cell phone use. The bill encountered significant opposition while it was in committee, most notably from Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger. Several committee members remarked that they felt the bill infringed on citizens’ rights. What they could not articulate was which specific rights they felt the bill might be infringing upon. That outcry was enough to effectively kill the bill, as Representative Pierce withdrew the bill, rather than have it die a slow death in committee.
One town in North Carolina, Chapel Hill, has shown some independent responsibility by banning all cell phone use within the town’s city limits. That sounds pretty strong, but the law had so many loopholes that it was really just a symbolic law aimed at spurring the North Carolina Legislature to act responsibly and pass a stronger state law restricting cell phone use. The Chapel Hill law was over-turned by a Superior Court Judge in August in a ruling that found the town ordinance was preempted by the current state law that limits cell phone use while driving.