The West Virginia MetroNews Network reports that this bill would make texting while driving a primary offense, punishable by a multi-tier system of fines. If the bill becomes law, police officers will be able to pull over any motorist that’s seen texting and driving.
The bill leaves use of a hand-held cell phone a secondary offense, similar to the state seat belt law. As a secondary offense, use of a hand-held cell phone cannot, on its own, get a motorist pulled over.
According to the bill, a first time offense would result in a $50 fine, $100 for a second offense and $200 for all subsequent offenses. The third offense may also result in a 3 point penalty against the motorist.
The committee members based their decision on evidence presented by Steve Dale, state Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Assistant Commissioner. Dale said that a person who’s texting while driving is 23 times more likely to get in an accident.
The bill must now go to full Senate for vote. It’s supported by the DMV and the West Virginia Trucking Association as well as Governor Tomblin, who advocated the legislation during his State of the State address.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's 2009 West Virginia Crash Statistics show that there were 356 fatalities as a result of car accidents in West Virginia.
In an effort to raise awareness of common factors in serious and fatal car accidents in West Virginia, our firm routinely publishes news items about traffic crashes in our region.
Common West Virginia accidents include, but are not limited to:
- single-car crashes;
- tractor-trailer accidents;
- accidents caused by hazardous road conditions; and
- distracted driver crashes.
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