Updated: May, 2023Summary of common traffic laws in North Carolina – Speed limits, License Renewals, Learners Permits, Drunk Driving Laws, and more. For more information, visit the North Carolina Governor's Highway Safety Program website.
In North Carolina, the maximum speed limit for cars is 70 mph. The maximum highway speed for trucks is also 70 mph. These are maximum speeds. Speeds may be lower on highway passing through urban areas. Always observe posted traffic laws and drive safely for the weather and road conditions.
North Carolina allows new drivers to get their learners permit at the age of 15. You must have your provisional license for a minimum of 12 months. Drivers can then get their intermediate license at 16. An Intermediate License imposes restricts on when you are allowed to drive and how many passengers are allowed in the car, but allows you to drive yourself without an instructor in the car.
In North Carolina, drivers can obtain their full drivers license at the age of 16 years and 6 months.
North Carolina requires you to renew your license every 8 years. There are additional provisions for older drivers:
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The state of North Carolina enforces increased penalties for speeding violations within work zones. These increased penalties are known as Work Zone Enhancements. Work Zone Enhancements can be enforced even if workers are not present as long as road work signs are posted. In North Carolina, Work Zone Enhacements are:
The legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.08%. States often enforce more strict mandatory penalties for drivers above a certain BAC. In North Carolina, driving with a BAC above 0.15% will trigger automatic enhanced minimum penalties.
Cellphones and other handheld devices are banned while driving in most states. In North Carolina, hand-held devices such as phones and mp3 player are banned to novice drivers only. Hands-free interaction with cellphones is allowed.
Texting while driving is banned in North Carolina. Texting while driving is concidered a primary offense. This means that you can be pulled over with texting as the only offense. In North Carolina, distracted driving is listed as a category on police crash report forms.
North Carolina requires seabelt use. Seatbelt enforcement is concidered primary, meaning you can be pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt. The fine for a seatbelt law violation in North Carolina is $25.00. Safety belt laws very state-by-state. Consult your states Department of Transportation for specific seatbelt use laws.