Many adults remember a time before global positioning system (GPS) devices made navigation simple. There was a time when people either needed to know the route or how to read a map to reach a destination. There was also a time when people could print out step-by-step directions in the early days of the internet.
Modern GPS systems are far more convenient than needing to print a multi-page physical list of instructions for your travel, but they also create new hazards for drivers. It is quite common for people to assume that they can adjust the destination in their GPS device or otherwise interact with a built-in screen in their vehicle while driving.
What they may not realize is that doing so might lead to a traffic citation.
Manually using devices is a traffic infraction in North Carolina
State law makes it a traffic violation for a driver to hold a mobile device while driving. Taking your hand off the wheel to press a phone against your ear or type out a text message will lead to a citation.
Depending on the circumstances, police officers could potentially cite you for a digital distraction offense when you use a GPS device, even if the screen is built into your vehicle. The longer someone takes their hands off the wheel and the more they focus on the GPS device, the easier it will be for them to overlook changing traffic conditions and cause a preventable collision.
Especially if there was a crash that occurred during the moment of distraction, drivers can anticipate a police officer citing them just like they would if the device were a phone, not a navigation tool.
Fighting citations is a smart move
Traffic tickets result in different consequences for people in different personal situations. If you have a commercial driver’s license or if you have many citations in your history already, another ticket could cost you your job or you’re driving privileges.
An infraction could also increase how much you pay for insurance, especially if you have prior citations for different traffic offenses. There are many ways to defend against a distracted driving charge, including showing that it was a passenger, not you, who used your device in the moments before a wreck.
Evaluating the potential impact of a distracted driving infraction can help you determine if fighting the ticket would be the best option in your case.