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Idaho, West Virginia Add Tough Driver Anti-Texting Laws

Distracted driving

Distracted driving

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It’s only fitting that during April, National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, two more states, Idaho and West Virginia, have just passed tough bans on texting while driving. That leaves just 13 states remaining to come on board with legislation aimed at combating this dangerous form of distracted driving.

In Idaho, the 37th state to pass an anti-texting law, the ban on texting by all drivers goes into effect July 1, 2012. Violators will face an $85 fine.

Earlier this month, West Virginia became the 36th state to step up with legislation that seeks to curb texting by drivers. But legislators in West Virginia went beyond just texting, outlawing the use of all hand-held cell phones by those behind the wheel as well. West Virginia thus becomes the 10th state with a hand-held cell phone ban for drivers.

The other nine states with hand-held cell phone bans include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Washington. In addition, the District of Columbia, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all hand-held cell phone use while driving.

The West Virginia law goes into effect July 1, 2012. Violators will face a $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second, and $300 for the third. In addition, three points will be assessed against the driver’s license on the third and any subsequent violations.

Text messaging will be a primary offense in West Virginia, effective July 1, while driver hand-held cell phone use will be limited to secondary enforcement until July 1, 2013, when it becomes a primary offense.

Simple message

A simple message from law enforcement agencies and safety advocates across the country this month gets right at the point: “One Text or Call could Wreck it All.”

Bottom line: No call or text is worth taking the chance. Be a safe driver. Put away the cell phone and don’t take or make any calls or texts until you’re parked or out of the vehicle. Above all, be a good role model for your children, who will learn from your behavior behind the wheel. It’s the best place to start to help end this particularly dangerous form of distracted driving.

Learn more about distracted driving at, a site launched by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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Comments (3)
  1. How about some REAL fines for texting or using a cellphone. Maybe $500 for first offense and loss of liscence for 2 months. $5000 for the second and loss of liscence for 2 years. And the third offense, permanent loss of liscence, $25,000 fine and 5 years jail time. All the above would be manditory, with no plea bargan, etc. etc.

    You think that is tough? See how you would feel if your wife and child were killed by someone texting, who got off with a $65 fine.

  2. David, Thanks for your comments on this issue of distracted driving. There's no question that it is a serious problem in this country, one that the statistics probably don't even come near to doing justice, being that distracted driving isn't listed as cause of accidents and fatalities in many cases. We can only surmise that you know of or perhaps have personally experienced tragedy resulting from a texting driver. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Thanks, Suzanne, for caring enough to read my rant. It bothers me every time I see someone arrested for texting and causing an accident, and then get off with out a fine, points or even probation.

    Yes, I lost my wife and 11 year old daughter, 643 days ago, to a 19 year old girls "texting while driving" fun.

    And, after reading my post again, I see that I don't know how to spell "license".


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