Texting While Driving Four Times More Dangerous Than Drunk Driving

A bill that would outlaw texting and using a hand-held cell phone while driving was passed unanimously by the West Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee.  Texting while driving would now be a primary offense.  Using a hand-held cell phone would still be a secondary offense.  A person who texts while driving is twenty-three times more likely to be involved in an accident.

The West Virginia Trucking Association also supports the bill.  Truckers  are already prohibited from texting or talking on hand-held phones while driving.

Texting while driving is a dangerous epidemic on America’s roadways. In 2009 alone, nearly 5,500 people were killed and 450,000 more were injured in distracted driving crashes.

The Senate bill sets the fines at $50 for the first offense; $100 for the second offense, and $200 for each subsequent offense.  Drivers would be penalized three points for a third texting offense.

Governor Tomblin supports the bill.  The bill will now go to the full Senate, and a similar version is being considered in the House.

Drivers Involved in Fatal Crashes by Age and Vehicle Type, 2009

Total Drivers

 

Distracted Drivers

 

Drivers With Cell Phone*

(% of Distracted Drivers)

 

Total 

45,230

 

5,084 (11%)

 

1,006 (20%)

 

Drivers by Age Group

 

Under 20 

3,967

 

619 (16%)

 

138 (22%)

 

20-29 

10,719

 

1,378 (13%)

 

293 (21%)

 

30-39 

7,633

 

832 (11%)

 

196 (24%)

 

40-49 

7,930

 

811 (10%)

 

161 (20%)

 

50-59 

6,559

 

631 (10%)

 

124 (20%)

 

60-69 

3,968

 

367 (9%)

 

56 (15%)

 

70+ 

3,778

 

408 (11%)

 

37 (9%)

 

Drivers by Vehicle Type

 

Passenger Car 

18,279

 

2,044 (11%)

 

386 (19%)

 

Light Truck 

17,822

 

2,117 (12%)

 

475 (22%)

 

Motorcycle 

4,593

 

562 (12%)

 

63 (11%)

 

Large Truck 

3,187

 

257 (8%)

 

75 (29%)

 

Bus 

221

 

14 (6%)

 

3 (21%)

 

 

 

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