While the officers are exempt in the new statute, both the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department and the State Police have policies that prohibit officers from texting while driving.
Texting behind the wheel is prohibited in all Kanawha County vehicles, Crosier said. The sheriff's office has a separate policy banning deputies from using cellphones in their vehicles without a hands-free device.
The State Police recently put a policy in place banning troopers from texting while behind the wheel and from using cellphones without a hands-free device. He said troopers still will be allowed to use their phones but must use a hands-free device.
"There's a learning curve for everyone," Patterson said. "Everybody does it, but we have to try to lead by example."
Fines start at $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second offense and $200 for the third or subsequent offenses.
Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at ashley.cr...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4850.
Guide to the new cellphone law for drivers
What is illegal?
A new state law bans drivers from the following beginning Sunday:
- Texting, which includes entering or reading text messages, emails, instant messages or other web-based text.
- Using an electronic communications device without hands-free technology for making phone calls, playing games or viewing images.
When can you be pulled over?
Police officers can pull over drivers for texting as a primary traffic offense beginning this Sunday.
Also starting Sunday, officers who have pulled over a driver for another primary offense can write that driver a ticket if he or she had been using a cellphone without hands-free technology. Starting in 2013, that, too, will be enforced as a primary traffic offense.What are the penalties?
Both offenses will carry fines of $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second offense, and $300 for the third and subsequent offenses.
Three points will be assessed against a driver's license for a third or subsequent offenses.