Law Enforcement: New Laws Will Help With Distracted Driving - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Law Enforcement: New Laws Will Help With Distracted Driving

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New driving laws are taking effect in West Virginia and the authorities already are enforcing one of them.

Law enforcement said a ban on talking on your cell phone while driving will help fix the problem of distracted driving.

"I think out here, especially in White Hall, we have approximately 30,000 cars a day that come through here," said Geno Guerrieri, White Hall Police Chief. "I think last year we had 200-and-some wrecks. This year we are over 100 already."

Distracted driving is a problem not only in Marion County, but all over West Virginia.

"It's a big problem. Not only with cell phones. It's anything you do inside your vehicle," said Chief Ralph Wright, of the Marion County Sheriff's Department. "I guess as time has progressed we seem to be multi-tasking more. The cell phone use just gets thrown in there."

But not anymore. Texting while driving has been illegal for more than a year and law enforcement said it's making a difference on the roads.

"I think it's effective. I really do," Chief Wright said. "I believe that people are starting to think 'hey I'll answer that later' or postpone it until they can get to a safe spot."

Police said it will help even more now that you can't talk on a cell phone while driving.

"There is just a number of things that play into effect with texting and driving and talking on the cell phone and driving," Chief Guerrieri said. "Now with this law in effect I think it will enhance people to say 'hey I really need to buckle down and do the right thing'."

If you aren't using a hands-free device, like a bluetooth headset, you will be fined.

"There's no court costs. The first offense is $100, the second offense is $200, and the third or subsequent offense is $300," Chief Guerrieri said.

Law enforcement is exempted from the hands free law, but Chief Geno Guerrieri said his officers will be held to the same standards as everyone else.

"We have a policy. You need to have a bluetooth. I bought everyone a bluetooth," he said. "If we are going to enforce the law, we gotta obey the law. My officers know there is no texting on the phone when driving and no talking on the cell phone and driving."

Law enforcement said to use common sense and be safe while out on the roads.