North Dakota Creates Distracted Driver Law

distracted driving criminal law fargo nd

Numerous state laws were recently passed by the North Dakota legislature during the 2017 session. One of the laws that has taken effect adds a $100 penalty if a motor vehicle driver violates a traffic law while doing something distracting. Distracted driving involves any activity that is not required to operate a motor vehicle. It is not limited to texting.

Old Law

The old law in the state of North Dakota made it illegal to use a wireless communication device to send an electronic message while driving (texting or emailing). The law, however, was silent on any other type of activity that would constitute distracted driving. Experts argue that there are three types of distractions that can divert the attention of motorists and potentially cause accidents. Distractions can be cognitive, involving the distraction of the motor vehicle driver’s mind; manual, involving a driver’s hands being taken off the wheel; or visual, involving the motor vehicle operator’s eyes leaving the road. Besides talking on a cellphone or texting, distracted driving can also involve adjusting the radio, applying makeup, drinking, eating, filling out paperwork, gawking at nearby car accidents, paying attention to passengers, using a GPS device, along with various other distracting activities.

New Distracted Driving Law

Under this new law, a motor vehicle operator is at risk of being cited and fined $100 for distracted driving if the motor vehicle operator is in an accident while distracted or commit a traffic offense while distracted. Distracted driving, the bill states, can be defined as any activity that is not absolutely necessary to operate a motor vehicle. Distracted driving also impairs the operator’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. As a result of this new law, motor vehicle operators can face charges both for distracted driving and the accident or traffic offense committed by the driver. A person must commit another driving-related offense for the distracted driving charge to be made.

Speak with a Knowledgeable Attorney

If you have been injured by a distracted driver contact an experienced attorney who can help with your case. Contact the legal counsel online at O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss today or call them at 701-235-8000 0r 877-235-8002.

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