North Carolina bills cover safety issues

| 6/20/2011

A bill on its way to the governor would require North Carolina’s youngest drivers to log more hours through the graduated license program. Other bills at the statehouse include provisions that address center medians, truckers’ use of hand-held devices, littering and lane use.

Currently, North Carolina allows teens age 15 to 18 to drive with limitations, such as time constraints and supervision requirements.

Senate voted 40-1 to sign off on House changes to a bill to toughen the state’s graduated licensing program for affected drivers. S636 now moves to Gov. Bev Perdue. The House approved it on a 105-2 vote.

Parents would be responsible for signing log books verifying their kid has driven with adult supervision for at least 60 hours, including some night driving, before obtaining a limited provisional license.

In an effort to make roads safer, the bill would require a total of 72 hours driving with an adult to get a full provisional license.

In addition, driving privileges could be revoked for 30 days if cited for such violations as speeding or driving without a seat belt.

Another bill nearing passage – H561 – would forbid the state DOT from building raised center medians on stretches of U.S. 70 in Kinston and U.S. 64 in Asheboro. Businesses in the areas have fought the proposal for raised center medians because of concerns it would be difficult for some customers to get there.

To conform with federal rules, a separate bill nearing passage – S750 – includes a provision to forbid truck drivers from using hand-held cell phones and text messaging while at the wheel.

The Senate approved another bill that would get tough with litterers.

“Intentionally or recklessly” discarding small amounts of trash already mandates fines ranging from $250 to $1,000. S635 would boost fines for tossing trash out the window to $1,000 to $4,000. Fines for dumping larger amounts of trash would also increase.

The state’s “Move Over” law could soon get a makeover. The rule requires travelers to make way for vehicles, typically emergency personnel, during roadside stops. H345 would include all highway maintenance vehicles and utility vehicles in the protection.

It has cleared the House and moved to the Senate for further consideration.

To view other legislative activities of interest for North Carolina, click here.

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