Out there in Chapel Hill, underneath Carolina blue skies, things are happening that don’t only involve the University of North Carolina. The Carrboro Citizen (how can you NOT include a story about cars from the town of Carrboro?) reported last week about a comprehensive ban of cell phones in the college town.
The ordinance bans both handheld and hands-free phones, in addition to other electronic devices like cameras and music players, while operating a car. (Citizens of Chapel Hill, you can rest easy knowing the rare art of driving photography has been nixed.) No other city, county or state in the country has extended the cell phone ban to hands-free devices.
But, and this is a pretty big but, the consequence isn’t exactly prohibitive. If you’re clever, you could probably avoid it altogether, too.
Ready for the great consequence unmask?
If an individual is caught driving and using a cell phone at the same time, the driver will receive a fine of…$25. They don’t give parking tickets that cheap in San Francisco.
People talking to emergency officials in an emergency situations or drivers talking to their parents, children, guardians or spouses avoid the citation, too. Essentially, while passing through Chapel Hill, you can’t talk to your friends or order food. Unless your son works for a pizza joint, in which case it’s a-okay to place a call and drive.
And the only way a police officer can actually pull someone over and cite them for violating the ordinance is if the officer has stopped the driver for a completely different violation. As a law-abiding driver, you can talk away to your heart’s content.
Sounds like one of those “we’re doing it on principal” things.
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