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Shinnston integrates state code involving texting while driving into city code

The city of Shinnston is taking on the issue of distracted driving locally.
 
On Monday, city council approved an ordinance which puts the penalties and definitions of texting while driving from state code into Shinnston's code.
 
"This particular item doesn't have any court costs to it, it's a straight fine," Assistant City Manager Travis Blosser said. "There's a $100 first offense, $200 second offense and $300 third offense, which is the exact amount if, for some reason, our officer would write you a ticker for that under the state code."
 
The new ordinance allows for the city to handle these offenses with the municipal court.
 
"This allows us to run those items through our court here locally," Blosser said. "So the ordinance is just taking state code and putting in our code book so that our officers can take it through municipal court, our municipal court judge can handle those cases should someone want to plead not guilty to that offense."
 
The action taken by city council is not unique, Blosser said many cities take similar steps with a variety of offenses due to the benefits and convenience it provides for higher courts.
 
"It keeps that money here locally instead of going to the county, through the magistrate court system," he said. "It also helps improve their [court] docket. Their docket is already quite full so our municipal court can handle that here."
 
Distracted driving has been deemed a problem by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey, at any given moment 660,000 drivers are using a cell phone while driving in America in 2011.