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WV Distracted Driving


It's been 10 months since the law went into effect and people are still texting and driving across West Virginia.

In Wood County convictions have been few.

"The average time you look away from your roadway when you're driving if you're responding or doing a text is five seconds and you're going 55 miles an hour, you're going to go the length of a football field. That's like driving blind," says Chief Shawn Graham, of the Wood County Sheriff's Department.

Young and old, many don't think about the consequences of distracted driving.

"The kids really don't think about that," Graham says. "But it's not just the kids, the parents got to get on board with this too."

From the Parkersburg Police to the state police, law enforcement tried to get people to stop using their phones on the road.

"What we tried to do through public service announcements and I know the state has tried to do it -- is to get people just to wait until their vehicle is not in motion anymore to check those messages or send that text or make that phone call," says Sgt. Greg Collins, of the Parkersburg Police.

Parents can help.

"You got to lead by example," Graham says. "If your kid sees you texting and driving, then maybe they think it's okay too, but it's absolutely one of the most dangerous things on the roadway. Texting and driving I thought several times in the past people were drunk drivers 'til I stopped them and found out they were on their phone."

Moving forward, more manpower and a bigger campaign might get people to listen.

"I think as time goes on law enforcement throughout the state will have to get more aggressive and try to curb this problem," Collins says. "I don't think we will ever solve it."

People don't want to part with their phones, even for the length of their car ride, even if it could save their life.

Collins says they probably won't stop while they're driving unless somebody close to them is killed.

Texting is a primary offense with a $100 fine the first time you're stopped, $200 for a second violation and $300 for more offenses.

A third offense also means up to three points on your driving record.

July 1 talking and driving will be a primary offense with the same fines as texting.


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