N.C. bill would ban texting while driving

When the phone beeps, James Barrett has a hard time ignoring it, even when in the car.

And that's why, a couple of times a week, Barrett, 39, taps out a text message while he's driving around town.

"I know it's not safe," said Barrett, a manager at IBM who lives in Chapel Hill. "You don't want to feel disconnected. You want to feel on top of things all the time."

Texting while driving would be against the law, though, under a bill approved Wednesday by the state House. The bill easily cleared a key vote, 108-9, and seems certain to pass the House in a final vote as early as today. The Senate would still have to approve the bill.

"It's all about safety, and that's just been the argument the whole time," said Rep. Garland Pierce, a Wagram Democrat and one of the bill's sponsors.

"I can't think of a dumber thing to do than a person to be riding down Interstate 85 and trying to look down at the phone and type a message," said Rep. Cary Allred, a Burlington Republican.

The bill does not restrict talking on the phone or using GPS devices. Violations carry a $100 fine.

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