A 13-month-old North Carolina girl was killed in a Christmas day car wreck that police originally thought was caused by texting and driving.
Originally, police in Wadesboro charged the girl’s father with texting and driving, alleging he sent a text message saying “Merry Christmas” just moments before the crash that killed his daughter and seriously injured his wife and two others.
Later, the police investigation revealed the father did not send a text message, though he did receive one near the time of the crash. There’s no evidence he looked at the message while driving.
When news of the charges first broke, many people took to social media and said the police were too harsh in charging the grieving father in the accident that took his daughter’s life.
We want to know what you think about the legal consequences and penalties for texting while driving.
Scientific students — and countless fatal accidents — have proven that texting (and even talking on the phone) distracts drivers’ attention. In fact, some studies show texting while driving is as dangerous as drinking while driving.
North Carolina is one of 41 states (and the District of Columbia) with laws against texting while driving.
Depending on the state and the severity of the infraction, the penalties for texting while driving range from a ticket or fine to jail time.
- Monetary fines- these can range from as low as $20 up to $500 depending on the state
- Criminal charges- in some states texting while driving can result in criminal misdemeanor charges (Class B or C)
- Jail or prison time- if the offense has resulted in bodily injury to another driver, jail or prison time may be imposed
In N.C. you can be fined from $25 to $100 for texting while driving, depending on your age. Bus drivers who are caught texting while driving face a $100 fine and a Class 2 misdemeanor charge. However, you won’t get points on your license or face increased insurance premiums for texting while driving violations.
Given the serious danger texting while driving presents to motorists and those who share the roads with them, do you think the penalties for texting while driving are severe enough?
Should penalties for texting while driving match those for driving under the influence?
In N.C., DUI penalities are much stricter and include loss of driving privileges, fines ranging from $200 to $10,000, jail time and substance abuse assessment and treatment.