The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 10, 2013

Fayette delegate honored for work on texting legislation

By Mannix Porterfield
Register-Herald Reporter

CHARLESTON — Veteran Fayette County Delegate Margaret Staggers has been singled out for an honor by the Mountain State Trauma and Injury Prevention Coalition for her work in passing legislation that outlaws texting while driving.

In another development, House Speaker Rick Thompson, D-Wayne, has appointed Staggers to the West Virginia Comprehensive Behavioral Health Commission.

Staggers, a Democrat who chairs the House Roads and Transportation Committee, was chosen as “Legislator of the Year” by the nonprofit Trauma and Injury Prevention Coalition.

“We promote safe practices and legislation that is geared to safety in West Virginia,” explained Bruce Trent, president of the group.

“We were very happy to see that the 2012 Legislature successfully endorsed legislation to improve safety on West Virginia highways by passing the bills related to safe use of smart phone devices.”

Specifically, lawmakers barred texting while driving and required motorists to use hands-free telephones to engage in conversation.

“We feel this is a step in the right direction that will result in lives saved,” Trent said.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin called for such legislation in his State of the State address last year and lawmakers responded with the anti-texting and hands-free telephone law.

Trent’s organization also plans to honor a state senator for promoting safety.

His organization represents a number of trauma centers across the state as well as professionals who provide trauma care.

On the other matter, Thompson advised Dr. Ahmed Faheem of Beckley, chairman of the West Virginia Comprehensive Behavioral Health Commission, that he had selected Staggers for appointment, noting she is a member of the House Committee on Health and Human Resources. Staggers is a longtime emergency room physician at Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital.

“She is an excellent choice for this appointment,” the speaker added.

  — E-mail: mannix@register-herald.com