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Put down the phone!

July 1, 2013 - Craig Howell
Beginning today, July 1, law enforcement officers will be able to pull over anyone they see talking on their cell phones while driving. That's right. Talking while driving without the use of a hands-free device is officially a primary offense in the Mountain State and it's something we all need to take notice of. Just about everyone has a mobile phone these days. For many, it is their main source of communication, providing access to phone calls, text messages, email, social media and other options. Last year, texting while driving became punishable by law and now we are taking it to the next step. It is a safety issue, and I encourage everyone — whether you are a West Virginia resident or simply visiting our great state — to take notice. There are a variety of hands-free devices available for our use, and those should make it possible to converse and drive at the same time. At least that way you're not looking down to check your phone, answer it and then holding the phone up to your ear, all of which could create a distraction or make it difficult to have full control over your vehicle. If you don't have one, there is always the option of simply waiting until you reach your destination to check your phone and return any messages. A first offense carries a penalty of a $100 fine. A second offense is a $200 fine. A third or subsequent offense is a $300 fine and 3 points on your license. People are sure to complain about this new law, but for me it all comes down to one simple thought: It's better to be safe than sorry.


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