It’s official: another state has joined the ranks of those that have banned the practice of texting while driving.
Yesterday, West Virginia became the latest of 39 states to ban the dangerous practice, and the 10th state to make all handheld cellphone usage while behind the wheel against the law. A texting while driving ban had already been on the books as a secondary offense, but on July 1, it officially became a primary offense, meaning that a person could be pulled over just for engaging in the activity.
The handheld cellphone ban will follow a similar trajectory, carrying a designation of a secondary offense for this first year (meaning you can’t be pulled over for talking on a cellphone alone). On July 1 of next year, that too will become a primary offense.
Anyone caught in breach of the new texting ban can expect to incur a $100 penalty if it’s their first offense. Subsequent violations increase by increments of $100, leveling off at $300 for the third offense as well as any additional violations.
As of yesterday, there hadn’t been any citations made in accordance with the new law. Considering that it was the first day of enforcement, though, this is hardly surprising. Officers will continue to be on the lookout for people violating the new rule.