With a North Carolina distracted driving bill, “Hands Free NC” (HB144) now before the Senate, what remains to be seen is if the bill will have the same measure of bipartisan support there as it did in passing the House 92-23 on May 7.

What is clear today though, is the necessity for all of us — law or not — to regain control of our own driving by making a commitment to putting away the gadgets while we’re behind the wheel.

A recent study indicates that more than 80 percent of drivers rate texting while driving as a very serious threat to safety — but almost 60 percent of drivers admit to engaging in the activity.

Those numbers don’t add up when they are measured against safe driving practices. The proof? In 2018, the North Carolina Department of Transportation recorded 123 fatalities resulting from distracted driving.

And as horrific and unnecessary as are those numbers, AAA Carolinas said the true numbers are much higher based on 102 rear end fatal crashes and 733 lane departure fatalities, which are commonly associated with distracted driving.

“Hands Free NC” has a long road yet ahead to becoming law, but whether or not North Carolina joins the current 18 states which boast a hands-free law, the outcome must be the same: Drivers must take personal responsibility for the safety of themselves and those they encounter on the road.

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