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Texting, driving don’t mix well

September 7, 2012
The Herald-Star

Keep both hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.

That was the simple message almost everyone received when learning to drive. But along came cell phones, GPS units and other handheld electronic devices.

Soon it was one hand on the wheel and no eyes on the road.

Texting or using a cell phone has been blamed for as many as one in four accidents across the country.

West Virginia's ban on cell phone usage and texting while driving has been in effect for two months. Ohio's law on banning texting went into effect last week.

West Virginia law makes it illegal for juvenile drivers with learner's permits or intermediate licenses from using wireless communication devices while driving. In Ohio, it is illegal for drivers under the age of 18 to use a cell phone or to text. Both states make it a primary offense, meaning law enforcement can pull over a teen driver if he or she is seen using a cell phone or texting while driving.

Adult drivers in Ohio are prohibited from texting and it is a secondary offense. Law enforcement can only enforce the law after a driver is pulled over for another reason.

The law in West Virginia makes text messaging a primary offense as of July 1, and the cell phone enforcement ban will be limited to secondary status for another year. That means police will need another reason to stop and cite motorists using handheld cell phones until July 1.

The fine in West Virginia for violating the law is $100 and increases for subsequent violations.

Ohio will issue a $150 fine for adults and juveniles. Teens also face a 60-day license suspension.

Fines won't mean much to violators.

Some people can't put down the cell phone while driving.

Hands free devices will be allowed.

Studies have shown cell phone use can lead to accidents. It is just not worth it to hold a cell phone to talk or text while driving. It is distracting and dangerous.

Most people agree it is dangerous but there are those who ignore the danger.

Now it is against the law and police officers and state troopers will enforce it.

Don't hold a cell phone or send or receive text messages while driving.

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