Tougher Distracted Driving Bill Advances in West Virginia

A House committee has advanced a tougher bill that would crack down on distracted driving by allowing police to stop drivers who are using their cellphones.

After several hours of debate Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee altered the bill so that holding or using a cellphone while driving would be a primary offense – a change from the Senate version of the bill. Under both versions, texting while driving would also be a primary offense.

The committee also clarified that hands-free devices which convert spoken words into a text message or accept verbal commands would be allowed and would not violate the proposed ban.

Delegates questioned how police would enforce the proposed bans. The committee rejected amendments that would have limited the scope of the bill.