Governor Earl Ray Tomblin of West Virginia has signed into law a bill that bans both the use of handheld cell phones and text messaging while driving. And Chapel Hill, North Carolina’s City Council has passed the first total ban in the United States on use of all types of cell phones while driving.
The West Virginia law, which takes effect on July 1, 2012, fines drivers who break the law from $100 for a first offense to $300 for a third and subsequent offenses. Drivers who receive three or more citations also receive 3 points against their drivers’ licenses for each violation.
While the violation is deemed a secondary offense (only cited when driver is stopped for another infraction) for the first year, it becomes a primary offense thereafter. The law also bans using mobile electronic devices to access the Internet or play games while operating a motor vehicle.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina becomes the first local entity in the country to totally ban the use of cell phones, including hands-free devices, while driving. The ordinance goes into effect on June 1, 2012. The ordinance will be enforced as a secondary offense. It does have a provision that allows parents, guardians, spouses, and children to use cell phones to contact each other in certain situations.
The state of North Carolina already passed a law banning text messaging while driving.