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North Carolina Driving Laws

​​​​ The laws for safe travel on North Carolina roads go beyond observing the speed limit and wearing a safety belt. There are several other laws motorists must abide by.


​Parking on highways

​Parking on highways is prohibited.


​Motorists must use headlights from sunset to sunrise; when light conditions restrict visibility to 400 feet or less; or when using windshield wipers during inclement weather.

​Right turns on red​

​Right turns at a red light are permitted after a complete stop unless otherwise posted. Left turns on red are not permitted.

​Traffic accidents

Crashes involving death, personal injury, or property damage of $1,000 or more must be reported to the nearest law enforcement officer or agency. ​Failure to report could result in prosecution and/or driver license suspension.

Fender Bender Law

​Motorists must move their vehicle to the shoulder of the road following minor, non-injury wrecks to help keep traffic moving and reduce the likelihood of secondary wrecks. Failure to do so could result in a $110 fine and court costs.

Move O​ver Law​

This law requires motorists to move over a lane or slow down considerably when approaching emergency vehicles (including NCDOT vehicles) stopped on the side of the road with lights flashing. Failure to do so could result in a $250 fine, and violators could also face misdemeanor or felony charges, if someone is injured or property is damaged.​

Quick Clearance Law

​If a law enforcement officer and an NCDOT representative concur, a parked, standing or disabled vehicle can be moved off the roadway by any means necessary if it poses a safety concern.


​Disposing of litter on public or private property, except by an individual who owns the property, is illegal. Violators could face a fine of up to $200 and community service.


Cellphone use

​Drivers under 18 are prohibited from using a mobile phone or technology associated with a mobile phone while driving except in emergencies or when talking to a parent or spouse. Violators pay a $25 fine but receive no driver license points, insurance surcharge or court costs.


​Drivers are prohibited from reading or writing text messages or emails while the vehicle is moving. Violators are subject to a $100 fine and court costs.

​Helmet law

​Helmets meeting federal standards are required when riding a motorcycle or moped. Children under 16 must wear a helmet while riding a bicycle.


​Seat belts and safety seats

​All occupants of a vehicle must wear a seat belt. Front-seat passengers who violate the law are fined $25. Back-seat passengers are fined $10.

Children under age 8 who weigh less than 80 pounds must be secured in a safety seat while riding in a vehicle. Older children must transition to booster seats before graduating to an adult safety belt.

Drivers who fail to properly secure children face $125 in fines and court costs, as well as a two-point penalty on their driving record.


​Driving while impaired

Drivers with a blood alcohol concentration at or greater than 0.08 percent are charged with driving while impaired. The minimum punishment is a fine of up to $200 and a possible term of imprisonment ranging from 24 hours to 30 days. The maximum punishment is a fine of up to $4,000 and a possible term of imprisonment ranging from 30 days to two years.​

​License suspension

Drivers convicted of driving while impaired will have their licenses suspended by the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles for at least one year. Individuals with a prior DWI conviction may be subject to punishment as a felon, and their vehicles may be seized and sold.


3/6/2024 3:50 PM