The bill's opponents said it would be difficult for police to determine when someone was using a cell phone to send text messages or e-mail instead of simply dialing a phone number, which is not illegal.
Now while it might be difficult to tell the difference at a glance there are plenty of news reports that clearly indicate the cell companies keep detail logs of all transactions (given how much they make on texting it behooves them to do so).
The bill makes exceptions for police officers and emergency personnel.
Why would there be an exception for these people? They are no less prone to distracted driving as anyone else. They need to pull over to use an e-mail/text device safely. All emergency responders have radios in their vehicles and usually on their persons so what need have they for texting while driving?
Finally the penalties:
Drivers caught texting or sending e-mail would be charged a $100 penalty but would not receive points on their drivers license or insurance.
This like most driving infractions penalties is much too low in my opinion (and others reading the comments section of the News and Observer). The main purpose this statute will serve is to make it easier to prosecute someone who's neglect causes a crash/injury/fatality.
On Yer Bike!