West Virginia drivers would be banned from texting under a bill passed Thursday by the House of Delegates, although some lawmakers say the proposal is so watered down that it’s worthless.
The legislation (HB2555) would make texting while driving a traffic offense, rather than a misdemeanor, as originally proposed.
Also, unlike the original legislation, the House-passed version would make texting a secondary offense, rather than a primary offense. That means violators could only be cited if they were pulled over for something else, such as speeding.
Delegate Danny Wells, D-Kanawha, said the bill is now “worthless.”
“I’m totally disappointed and discouraged,” he said after the vote Thursday. “I think as long as it’s not a primary offense, it’s just a worthless piece of paper. There’s no way anybody’s going to be pulled over for texting the way it’s written.”
“It’s hard enough for an officer to see someone texting in the first place.”
Wells has pushed for stronger seatbelt and cell phone laws for drivers, and still voted for the bill Thursday.
“This is all about saving lives, and the statistics show you lose lives when you drive and text at the same time,” he said
In most states with texting driving bans, violating the law is a primary offense. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 26 of 30 states with anti-texting laws have primary enforcement.
For more information see: http://wvgazette.com/News/politics/201102171656