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What Happens if you’re Caught Texting While Driving?

Texting and talking while driving, hands of young man on steering wheel

Unless you are a school bus driver in a moving school bus or under the age of 18 getting caught texting while driving is an infraction and will cost you $100 bucks and no drivers license points.  If you are the victim of an automobile accident caused by a texting driver the statute does nothing to help you in a claim or civil trial for damages.  Texting while driving is not gross negligence nor negligence per se and you will not be entitled to punitive damages simply because the other driver was texting while driving.

“Getting caught” texting while driving is difficult at bemst.  The officer must have an articulable suspicion for believing you are texting while driving.  Holding the phone in your lap, looking at the phone, and pressing on the keypad will not be enough suspicion for a stop because talking on the phone, dialing numbers and checking caller I.D. while driving is still okay in North Carolina.

My approach to injury cases in which texting while driving is suspected is to subpoena cell phone and Facebook check-in records and correlate the time of the texts or Facebook posts with the time of the accident.  If the times match it can be argued that the cause of the accident was distracted driving.  At mediation or trial the jury can be shown the actual message or post.  Although the jury cannot award punitive damages for texting while driving the jury can certainly weigh the evidence appropriately.



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