NC lawmakers may repeal cussing on highways ban

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Road rage is not a new concept and with millions on the road this holiday weekend, traffic will be an issue.

But many drivers in North Carolina may not know that there is a law currently on the books that bans cursing on the state’s highways.

In 1913, North Carolina passed a law that banned cursing on a public road or highway within earshot of at least two people.

At the time, it would have meant up to 30 days in jail.

Lawmakers made some changes over the years to the law and exempted some counties, but the law still exists.

Even some lawmakers didn’t know the law existed.

Other lawmakers said in jest maybe drivers should obey the rule.

“As a good Southern Baptist, we don’t curse on the highway. Maybe everybody ought to follow the rule,” said Rep. Mike Hager (R-Burke).

As far as the law being enforced, there was a case in Orange County in 2011 and a judge ruled the charge unconstitutional.

But now there is an effort to repeal the law, saying it is outdated.

That effort to repeal the law is just a couple lines, part of the more controversial, 54-page Regulatory Reform Act of 2015.

Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue was a student in 1973 when then House Member Herbert Hyde spoke about the cursing law on the floor.

“Herbert gave this very impassioned plea to folks to allow people to cuss,” Blue said.

In a recording of that speech, Hyde can be heard begging for a “sanctuary” in which to cuss.

“That’s all I want, a place of refuge, a sanctuary where a man can go and cuss with impunity. Now that ought not to be too much to ask, I shouldn’t think,” Hyde said in 1973.

Fast forward 42 years and a driver’ vehicle could be their sanctuary.

The law may not be repealed, at least not immediately.

Since it is attached to the Regulatory Reform Act, parts unrelated to the cussing law have lawmakers divided.

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