Area residents support phone, texting ban
MARTINSBURG – Local residents – even the ones who would have to alter their own habits – are happy with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s legislative proposal to outlaw texting and the use of handheld cellphones while driving, a plan he put forth in last week’s State of the State address.
Martinsburg resident Marissa Dobson, who supports the idea, said she worries about a younger sister and doesn’t want to see anyone injured as a result of distracted driving.
“I do drive and talk on the phone, but I don’t text because I think that is almost impossible to do while driving. You have to really concentrate on texting while at the same time you should be concentrating on driving,” she said.
Thomas Dobson, also of Martinsburg, called it a “great idea” because he also believes too many people are not giving driving their full attention.
“There is a lot of distracted driving and it is dangerous,” he said, adding that he doesn’t either talk or text while behind the wheel.
The proposed ban is a good idea because it may make state roads safer, said Martinsburg resident Cynthia Wint.
“I think in the past decades we’ve created these habits with our cellphones that can also create a lot of problems, so we do need to ban it. And I also think the more enforcement, the more people will stop – so that message does need to be sent out,” Wint said.
“I have a bad habit of doing it, too, but I also know it is dangerous,” she added.
Martinsburg resident Brandy Netz also favors the ban, especially when she considers what might happen to her children if another driver was distracted by using a cellphone.
“In all honesty, I do both but I also know it is wrong. … I have little kids and they come first, so this really does need to be banned because you never know what might happen when someone is texting or dialing a number. It should be stopped because I wouldn’t want something to happen to my kids or anyone else,” Netz said.
Sarah Fizer, a 15-year-old student at Martinsburg High, has her permit and is just beginning to drive but already realizes what a responsibility it is, she said.
“It takes a lot of concentration and I don’t want to be distracted, so I think it would be a good idea if this ban takes place. If you’re texting and driving, your hands obviously aren’t on the wheel so you couldn’t react quick enough if something would happen – like a car pulling out in front of you,” she said.
Her mother, Nancy Fizer, agreed the legislature should take action.
“Of course, I’m not physically coordinated enough to text and drive at the same time. I don’t see how anyone can do that and still keep their eyes on the road,” she said.
Martinsburg resident Carolyn Wise said the practices need to be stopped immediately.
“There are just too many people getting injured, so I would totally support this,” Wise said.
“I see the signs in Maryland where they’ve already done this, and I’ve wondered when West Virginia would catch up,” she said.
Hedgesville resident Terry Lynch joked that she was the wrong person to ask about this proposal, adding, “I am probably the world’s worst when it comes to texting. … Even my daughter Brittany, who is a student at West Virginia University, yells at me to stop.”
In the end, however, Lynch acknowledged that some changes probably do need to be made.
“I do understand and agree about stopping the texting while driving, but I’m not so sure about the cellphones and talking. I see women putting on their makeup while they’re driving down the road, and I think that is much worse because their eyes are glued to the mirror,” she said.