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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 Over Law

Motorists must move over one lane, or slow down if shifting lanes isn’t possible, when passing law enforcement and emergency vehicles with flashing lights, as well as wreckers and incident management assistance patrol vehicles that are stopped on a highway shoulder. Failure to do so could result in a $250 fine.​

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.


8/7/2020 10:01 AM