Shenandoah Police Chief Raymond Shaw reminds residents that beginning today ... September 1, 2017 ... the wireless communications law goes into effect. It is as follows:
- House Bill 62 targets drivers who are on their cellphones reading, writing or sending a text message while driving.
- Law enforcement will be on the lookout for drivers whose heads are down and who are swerving. Shaw said,"That's a huge indicator that they might be texting and driving. We receive calls on these drivers from others thinking that they appear to be DWI, but they are on their phones."
- Cellphones can be used for GPS navigation and music, though drivers might still get pulled over if officers suspect them of texting. "The key here is paying attention to the vehicles around you and keeping your hands on the wheel," said Shaw. "Officers often see drivers with a knee on the steering wheel as they text with one hand. If another driver cuts in front of them then they are immediately at a disadvantage to maneuver out of the way."
- Instead of texting, seek out hands-free technology, like Bluetooth headsets or dictation functions and apps that type out words spoken aloud.
- Using a cellphone to report an emergency, like a car crash, while driving is OK under the law. Shaw continued,"Of course, we need to get first responder personnel there as quickly as possible."
- Those who are caught wireless communications and driving will face a fine up to $99 for the first offense and those who've previously been convicted could face up to $200.
Put the phone away while driving or pull off to a spot where you can safely and legally text.