Thursday, January 10, 2013
West Virginia University's School of Public Health has recevied a $182,000 grant to study the effectiveness of state laws banning cell phone use while driving. The grant from the Eunice K. Shriver National Institute of Health was announced by West Virginia's U.S. Senators, Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin. WVU's announcement is attached here. According to a National Transportation Safety Board "Fact Sheet," which notes various data on the issue, commercial drivers are 163 times more likely to have a "safety-critical event" if texting, and that national surveys indicate 69 percent of drivers reporting talking on their cell phones while driving, and 24 percent reported texting or emailing while driving. The attached chart from the Governor's Highway Safety Association, lists all cell phone/texting laws in place in the U.S. and whether the various restrictions are primary or secondary offenses. Currently West Virginia's restrictions are secondary, meaning a driver cannot be cited for hand held use unless stopped for another infraction, however, West Virginia's ban becomes primary on July 1, 2013.