State police officials indicate they plan to take a relatively lenient approach to West Virginia's ban on motorists using cellular telephones to send or examine text messages - at first. No doubt many local law enforcement agencies will do the same.
Beginning this week, "texting" while driving is a secondary offense in West Virginia. That means offenders can be ticketed only if pulled over for some other infraction.
But on July 1, texting while driving becomes a primary offense, meaning the culprit can be pulled over solely on the strength of that violation.
Both the state police and the state Division of Highways, which will be installing signs warning drivers of the ban, plan to take an "educational" approach to the law. In other words, it is possible some offenders may get off with warning tickets or merely verbal chastisement, for a time.
Giving the public time to adjust to the new law is a good idea, for the sake of simple fairness. And many motorists see nothing wrong with texting.
They should, however. The practice is a type of distracted driving that can be very dangerous. Thousands of accidents each year are blamed on drivers who, for one reason or another, are not paying full attention while behind the wheel.
Again, law enforcement agencies are doing the right thing in trying to educate before they enforce. At some point not long down the road, however, they should crack down hard on offenders. Motorists need to get the message that texting while driving is hazardous - and will not be tolerated in West Virginia.