North Carolina town is first in the U.S. to ban hands-free calling while driving

MyFord Touch Calling

The crackdown on distracted driving has been a long and ongoing debate. Progress has been made in favor of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, with talking on handheld devices and texting while driving have both been banned in well over half of U.S. states.

As for including hands-free devices and Bluetooth in the bans, the opposition is a bit stronger, except for in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

As it has been reported by the Charlotte Observer, two years of town council debate has resulted in an the approval of a ban on hands-free devices behind the wheel. The ban extends to all town and state roads within the city limits, and comes with a $25.00 fee, with the exception of emergency calls, and contact with immediate family members.

State attorney general Jess Mekeel had been presented with the issue of the town council holding any authority over the matter by attorney Ralph Karpinos back in 2011, and replied that the it did not. Mekeel sites that the state already offers “a complete and regulatory scheme” on the matter. He adds “An ordinance by the Town of Chapel Hill regulating motorists’ use of cell phones is preempted by State law, and therefore, unenforceable.”

By: Alexandra Koken