North Carolina Driving and Traffic Laws


Knowing the driving and traffic laws in the state of North Carolina ahead of time will keep you from making some costly mistakes. Following the rules of the road and obeying traffic laws will keep you and your family safe as well as prevent unnecessary increases on your insurance coverage as well as save you money on traffic tickets and fines.
Driving while intoxicated or DWI in the state of North Carolina is not taken lightly. You are prohibited from consuming any alcoholic beverage while driving. This law is often enforced by random road blocks, especially during holiday weekends, to catch any drivers who may be drinking and driving.

A first offense could result in the loss of your license for up to one year. The minimum punishment is a fine of up to $100 and no less than 24 hours of jail time or 24 hours of community service.

If you receive a second DWI you could lose your license for up to four years. You will face fines of up to $1,000 and spend a minimum of seven days in jail but not more than 12 months. By the third violation you could lose your license permanently and by the fourth DWI it is considered a felony if it occurred within a seven year time frame.

In North Carolina, your driver’s license can be suspended if you have more than two speeding tickets over 55 mph in one year, one conviction of driving over 55 mph and a reckless driving charge, a suspended court sentence or a ticket for driving over 75mph.
You could also lose your license if you engage in an unplanned or pre-arranged car race with another vehicle.

Speed limits on the highways vary from state to state. In North Carolina, 70 mph is the speed limit on rural freeways for cars and trucks. On urban freeways you can drive at 60 mph and county and undivided rural roads have speed limits of 50mph. Residential urban areas have speed limits of 20-35 mph and you can only drive 20 mph in school zones.

All drivers and passengers in vehicles driven in North Carolina must wear seat belts. Anyone under the age of 16 is covered by the NC Child Passenger Safety Law. Children under the age of eight and weighing 80 pounds or less have to be seated in an approved safety or booster seat. Kids under 6 and less than 60 pounds must be in an approved child restraint seat. When the child reaches the age of eight or 80 pounds, he or she can use a regular seat belt.

And the most recent addition to the driving laws of North Carolina is a ban on text messaging on your cell phone while driving. This law just went into effect in June 2009.