Ahead of Thursday’s crossover day in the North Carolina General Assembly, the state house has approved a bill that bans hand-held use of cell phones by drivers. The fine for the offense would be $100. The final vote in House Tuesday morning was 92-23. It now moves on to the Senate.
Macon County Representative Kevin Corbin is one of the chief sponsors of the bill. He says a similar law passed last year in neighboring Georgia has already led to fewer accidents. “It’s about saving lives," the Republican says. "At the end of the day you can get your car fixed. You can pay for metal and rubber. You can replace that but when people die you can’t replace them." Corbin says the Georgia law has also lead to lower insurance rates because there have been fewer accidents. He's an insurance agent himself in Franklin. If the measure passes the Senate and is signed by the governor, North Carolina will join 18 other states and Washington D.C. in banning hand-held cell phone use by drivers.
The House passing the measure by this Thursday May 9th is crucial, as bills that haven’t gotten through at least one chamber by crossover day are almost assuredly dead through 2020. It almost didn't make it, as lawmakers were concerned that earlier versions of the measure would have allowed eating or putting makeup on while driving potential actions that could have lead to fines. Language regarding those actions was removed, allowing the bill to come out of committee and head to the full House floor for Tuesday's vote.