Handheld cell phone use in West Virginia will cost you

Your 10-cents-per-text plan seems cheap when you consider this: Pressing send behind the wheel will soon cost you 3,000 times that amount.

Thanks to a new bill signed into law this month, handheld cell phone use in West Virginia — the home state of the Summit Bechtel Reserve — is against the law and punishable by a fine of up to $300.

The law, sure to make West Virginia’s roads safer, comes as Scouts and Scouters prepare to descend on the state for next summer’s national Scout jamboree.

If you’re among the tens of thousands who will attend, visit, or serve on staff, here’s what you need to know:

  • Starting on July 1, 2012, West Virginia becomes the 36th state to ban text messaging while driving and the 10th to prohibit all handheld cell phone use while driving.
  • During the law’s first year, the violation is a secondary offense, meaning officers must see another violation to pull you over.
  • If they do, it’s a $100 fine for the first offense, $200 for the second, and $300 for the third.
  • On July 1, 2013, the violation becomes a primary offense, allowing officers to pull you over and ticket you even if you didn’t do anything else wrong.

I wrote about the dangers of texting and driving — and how to talk to your Scouts about it — a few months ago. Consider this a reminder that while texting and driving might not cost you your life, it will soon cost you in other ways.

Need to know: Laws for each of the 50 states

Before you plan an out-of-state trip (with or without Scouts), learn about distracted driving laws for each of the 50 states by visiting the official government Web site.

What do you think?

Are you in favor of distracted driving legislation? Why or why not? Share your thoughts below.

About Bryan Wendell 2868 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.