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Distracted Driving Police

By: Jillian Risberg Email
By: Jillian Risberg Email

Motorists really have to think before they get in their car with their phone.

The police -- it's another story when it comes to West Virginia's distracted driving law.

"There is an exemption in this law that allows police officers to use a cellphone without a hands-free device in the official performance of their duties,” says Sgt. Michael Baylous, West Virginia State Police public information officer.

Comments on social media and in the newspaper have been rampant.

"Some people have taken a rather childish stance in it and saying, ‘well, what about the police,’" Baylous says.

There are exemptions for the police when it comes to certain things.

"It's necessary,” Baylous says. “Whether it's being able to drive above the speed limit or to go through a busy intersection where there’s a red light to respond somewhere.”

Everyone needs to use common sense and a little grace.

"Understand that there's times when whether it's using a cellphone or whether it's driving a little faster than the speed limit, there are times when that's warranted,” Baylous says.

With technology advancing as rapidly as it is, soon this will be a moot point.

"Eventually we're going to have the technology that cars are all going to be equipped with systems where you won't even probably have to touch anything,” Baylous says. “I think that some of that technology actually exists out there already."

The West Virginia State Police want to set the example.

According to Baylous, they don't see a penny.

“It doesn't come back to the State Police Retirement Fund like a lot of people think it does,” he says. “We don't see that money. It's strictly a highway safety issue."

Officials say we've had more than a year to get used to this law and many troopers use an earpiece or other hands-free device to be safe and keep both hands on the wheel.


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