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West Virginia law banning texting while driving in effect July 1

Texting while driving has been the cause of many serious car accidents in recent years and is currently a secondary offense in West Virginia. This means that individuals cannot be cited for texting unless they are pulled over for another offense first. A new bill was signed into law in April that will make texting a primary offense. This means that individuals caught texting while driving can be pulled over and cited for it.

In addition to a citation, the new law will require those cited to pay $100 fine for the first offense. The fine will increase by $100 for each subsequent violation. On the third and subsequent violations, three points will be assessed against an individual's driver's license.

The new law is in response to the growing number of accidents caused by distracted driving. In 2009, almost 500 accidents on West Virginia roads were linked to distracted driving that was caused by an electronic device. Texting while driving was first banned by the state of Washington and every state other than Florida, South Carolina, South Dakota, Montana, Arizona and Hawaii has since enacted some kind of texting and driving laws.

The Division of Highways will be required to post signs along interstates and major highways to alert motorists of the ban. Louisiana residents are preparing for the ban to take place and have mixed feelings. Some don't think the new law will change the habits of drivers and won't make a difference. Others feel that the changes are necessary and will help to keep drivers safer while preventing accidents. The new law will go into effect on July 1.

Source: The Daily Athenaeum, "Texting ban to be enforced July 1," Lacey Palmer, June 27, 2012

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