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Is texting while driving justification for a traffic stop? 

On Behalf of | Feb 24, 2023 | Traffic Violations |

Texting while driving has become one of the most pressing safety concerns on North Carolina roads. Many people drive with phones in their hands and do not stop to consider how their choices might negatively affect others. 

It is illegal for underage drivers to use a mobile device at all while in control of a vehicle, and adults can end up cited for a traffic infraction if they manually use a phone, although hands-free systems can be a workaround for those who need to stay in constant contact. 

Can a North Carolina police officer pull an adult driver over just for having a phone in their hands? 

Phone use is a primary infraction

The state groups traffic violations into two categories. They are primary infractions that are severe enough to justify the state stopping someone, and then there are secondary issues that might lead to a citation but would not warrant a traffic stop on their own. 

A seatbelt infraction by someone in the back seat is a secondary offense and does not necessarily cause a police officer to conduct a traffic stop, for example. A driver with their phone in their hands, on the other hand, is a primary infraction and grounds for a traffic stop and ticket.

Texting while driving may seem like a minor concern to some people, especially when compared with drunk driving or other egregious safety issues. However, the rate at which distracted driving contributes to crashes has led to much more aggressive enforcement by North Carolina police departments. 

Especially if someone drives for a living, a moving violation can be a major concern. Fighting back against a recent traffic ticket can save someone money and potentially also help preserve their driving privileges.