MASON COUNTY — Come Sunday July 1, those who text while driving will have to pay the price.
Senate Bill 211, which was signed into law several months ago, will soon be taking effect. According to the bill, as of July 1, 2012, texting while driving will considered a primary offense, and talking on a handheld cell phone is a secondary offense. By July 1, 2013, talking on a cell phone will be also be a primary offense.
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin was one of the supporting senators behind this bill, and also worked to prevent this problem by distributing his safe driving pledge, which commits the signer to only using hands-free devices while driving.
“Both the bill and my safe driver pledge are about making our roads safer,” Gov. Tomblin said. “I spoke with several heartbroken families who lost loved ones in car accidents caused by distracted drivers, and I assured them I was doing everything possible to prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future. Unfortunately, cellphones cause a real distraction-a distraction we can’t afford on our roadways.”
As previously reported, there have been several programs in Mason County high schools that have also been working to prevent cell phone use while driving among the students, perhaps one of the guiltiest parties when it comes texting and driving. At Hannan High School, representatives from Allstate Insurance visited students and informed them of the many dangers of using cell phones while driving. Students also received thumb bands, much like the popular Livestrong wristbands, to remind them not to text and drive.
Point Pleasant High School also distributed thumb bands among the students and worked on in the importance of wearing seatbelts. Wahama students also attended assemblies where the featured speaker talks on the dangers of texting and driving. Wahama’s PRO officers were also very active in this message, and encourage the students to not text and drive.