Texting laws are being enforced

Distractions of any kind while driving are dangerous – for both the motorist and those around them.

That’s why we’re glad the state of West Virginia enacted laws in recent years to cut down on some of the modern distractions drivers face. It would seem the message is being heard loud and clear, also.

While laws have been on the books for a couple of years now prohibiting texting and the use of handheld mobile phones, they have only been fully enforced in West Virginia since July. In that time, however, almost 290 motorists have been cited in the Mountain State.

It is a primary offense to text or use a cell phone while behind the wheel, meaning law enforcement officials can pull someone over for just this offense.

The fine for a first offense of these laws is $100, with a $200 fine for a second violation and $300 for subsequent offenses.

Ohio law bans the use of a handheld electronic wireless communications device to write, send or read text while driving for those 18 and older.

Doing so is considered a secondary offense, which means law enforcement can’t stop drivers without another reason.

In addition to the 286 citations issued in the Mountain State, another 108 warnings were given to motorists between July 1 and Nov. 30.

We are glad to see enforcement of these laws is taking place, and we hope our readers take note as well.

This is not a matter of convenience. It is a matter of safety. Even a distraction of a few seconds can lead to an accident. In fact, law enforcement officials have said using such mobile devices is among the top leading contributors to accidents in West Virginia.

We urge everyone to remember to put down the phone while behind the wheel.

The call or text can wait until later.