North Carolina holds beautiful Atlantic Ocean sunsets and daring mountain-top panoramas. With six coastal lighthouses and over 20 ferries scattered throughout the state’s lush landscape, “The Tarheel State” is a uniquely East Coast destination. From whitewater rafting and hiking to bed and breakfasts and antiquing, North Carolina offers attractions that have brought visitors from far and wide. Drivers enjoy the coastal cruises, and CheapCarInsurance.net wants to keep North Carolina driving safely. That’s why this list of essential state car insurance facts has been compiled, organized and made easily accessible.
Average Car Insurance Premiums
North Carolina enjoys premiums below the national average, and its premiums as a percentage of income hit an historic low in 2007. Although census.gov points out the state’s averages were on the incline in 2008, they remain below the nation’s average.
Drunk Driving Fatalities
Beginning with a percentage slightly below the national average in both 2010 and 2011, North Carolina saw an increase in its drunk driving fatalities that brought its percentage up to match the national average. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported both the nation’s and the state’s averages at 31 percent in 2012.
Teen Drinking and Driving
The Center for Disease Control reports that North Carolina’s teen drinking and driving percentage is nearly 2.5 percent below the national average. The state’s percentage measures 7.7, while the national average measures 10.1.
Vehicular Theft in North Carolina
North Carolina’s vehicle theft rate declined in 2012 and was reported to be at 165.3. The FBI reported this number was over 60 points below the national average of 229.
With the changes coming and going in driving laws and regulations, North Carolina drivers have to spend time keeping up-to-date. The following quick-reference article will help cut that time down, and let Tarheels get back to their beloved state.
Minimum Requirements for Car Insurance in North Carolina
- The North Carolina Department of Insurance requires Liability Insurance and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage on all vehicles driven in the state. The department as produced A Consumer’s Guide to Auto Insurance to help drivers navigate the car insurance search.
- Liability Coverage and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists minimums:
- $30,000 per individual to cover bodily injury or death.
- $60,000 per accident involving bodily injuries or deaths.
- $25,000 for property damage.
New Driver Licensing Requirements:
- The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) makes it mandatory to have a state driver’s license if operating a vehicle within North Carolina. For new drivers, the state offers a Graduated Driver License (GDL) program to allow drivers under the age of 18 driving experience. The 3 phases of the program are explained below:
- Limited Learner Permit. Beginning at age 15, this permit allows the applicant to drive while supervised. The applicant must pass the vision, sign and written tests as well as complete a driver education course to obtain this permit. The following requirements/restrictions apply while the permit is held:
- Must hold the permit for at least 12 months
- The applicant must be accompanied by a licensed driver age 25 or older who has held his/her license for at least 5 years.
- Cell phone use is prohibited
- Limited Provisional License. At age 16, applicants who have completed the requirements for the Limited Learner Permit may pass the Road Skills Test and show proof of liability insurance to apply for the Limited Provisional License. The applicant must have had no violations in the preceding 6 months, and the following applies while holding this license:
- Must hold the license for at least 6 months
- May drive unsupervised between 9am and 5pm
- May drive unsupervised at any time if driving to/from work, school or volunteer fire, emergency service or rescue.
- When unsupervised, the applicant is permitted to carry only one passenger under the age of 21.
- Cell phone use is prohibited
- Full Provisional License. To obtain a Full Provisional License, the applicant must have no violations within the preceding 6 months. The applicant can drive unsupervised at any time, but he/she may not use a cell phone device while driving.
- Vision Exam. To pass the vision test, an applicant must have a visual acuity of at least 20/50 including corrective lenses and a field of vision of at least 60 degrees in one eye.
- Written Test. The written test is made up of information contained in the North Carolina Driver’s Manual. The North Carolina DMV provides practice questions for the written test which are available here.
- Sign Test. The applicant must identify a variety of traffic signs by shape, color and/or symbol. The state’s DMV provides the sections for the Regulatory Signs and for the Warning Signs.
- Driving Test. Chapter 1 of the North Carolina Driver’s Manual outlines the information necessary to complete the driving test. The test administrator will observe the applicant’s ability to perform the following skills:
- Approach intersections
- Obey stop signs and traffic signals
- Correctly use turn signals and horn
- Following another vehicle
- Complete a three-point turnabout
- Fees. North Carolina drivers license fees are as follows:
- Limited Learner Permit, $15.
- Limited Provisional License, $15
- Full Provisional License, $4 per year
- Regular Driver’s License, $10
- BAC limit: .08 The North Carolina Department of Public Safety has organized DUI offenses into 5 levels. Level 5 is the least serious, and Level 1 is the most serious, receiving the most severe penalties. Following is a list of pertinent penalties for Level 5 and Level 1 DUI convictions in North Carolina:
- Level 5:
- Fine: maximum $200
- License revocation: 1 year
- Jail: 24 hours to 60 days, OR
- Community service 24 hours, OR
- Combination of jail time and community service
- Level 1:
- Fine: maximum $4,000 (max. $10,000 with aggravated factors)
- License revocation: determinate upon factors included in the offense
- Jail: 30 days to 2 years. This sentence cannot be suspended (max. 3 years with aggravated factors)
- Possible vehicle forfeiture
- For further explanation of North Carolina’s DUI laws, refer to North Carolina General Statutes (N.C.G.S.) § 20-179(f-k).
Texting & Driving Laws
Distraction.gov notes that North Carolina has banned texting for all drivers, and it has banned all cell phone use for novice drivers and bus drivers.
North Carolina is a beautiful state and can make one want to break out in song. But be careful; it is a crime to sing off-key for more than 90 seconds. Also, it is prohibited to use an elephant to plow a field, and, to keep things civil, fights between dogs and cats have been declared illegal!