05 November 2009

W.Va. Still Looking At Cell Phone Ban for Motorists

Citing deaths blamed on distracted drivers, West Virginia lawmakers haven't given up on banning hands-on devices for those behind the wheel and now may get some federal help, The Associated Press reports.

"Two efforts may converge if millions of federal dollars are set aside for states that adopt such restrictions," AP's Tom Breen writes. "The money could help speed along the passage of a bill that only failed in this year's legislative session because of a last-minute amendment."

Delegate Nancy Peoples Guthrie sponsored the legislation this year and plans to introduce it during the 2010 session, the article said, while the federal money would come from a bill co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

The article also notes that the 2009 attempt "passed by a wide margin in the House of Delegates and Senate passage seemed likely, except for the addition of an amendment relating to the placement of cell phone towers in the state. With time running out on the session's last night, the House and Senate couldn't come to an agreement on the amendment and the bill died."

And while an interim study committee is crafting a 2010 version, it "currently focuses mostly on texting while driving," the article said.

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