When drivers are behind the wheel, they need to have their full attention on the task at hand: driving safely. Remaining in control of their vehicle, traveling at a safe speed, keeping a safe distance from other vehicles, and anticipating the mistakes other drivers could make are all mental and physical efforts a driver has to make to reduce the chances of an accident. Smartphones are a major distraction to drivers and prevent them from making these efforts. Because of the devastating car accidents a distracted driver can cause, West Virginia has laws that are meant to prevent drivers from using their phones.
West Virginia Law
As a driver in West Virginia, it’s important for you to know the laws regarding cell phones and driving. Many people often travel with their cell phones and have a difficult time ignoring their phones. However, in West Virginia, according to §17C-14-15, no one can drive a motor vehicle on a public street or highway if they’re texting or using their phone for any other reason. It’s also important to know what qualifies as a cell phone. According to West Virginia law, any cellular, analog, wireless, or digital telephone means cell phone.
When drivers think about texting and driving, they may think the action is only prohibited when the car is moving. However, operating a motor vehicle includes having the motor running, being temporarily stationary in traffic, whether it’s because of heavy traffic or a traffic light, are all instances where drivers cannot use their cell phones. The only time they can use their cell phones while the motor is running is when they’ve pulled safely to the side of the road and they’re out of traffic. The vehicle has to be able to safely remain stationary.
However, if a driver has hands-free technology, they can use their cell phone as long as they adhere to the hands-free option.
What Are the Penalties for Violating the Law?
While there are laws prohibiting the use of cell phones while driving, it doesn’t always stop drivers from looking at their phones or trying to send a text when they’re behind the wheel. The penalties are severe because they’re meant to be a deterrent to keep drivers from violating the law.
If someone is found to be using their cell phone while driving will be guilty of a traffic offense. If it’s their first offense, they could be paying a fine of $100. Upon the second offense, the fine increases to $200. If it’s a third or subsequent offense, the person will be fined $300. Points will go on a driver’s record if they’re on the third or subsequent offense of the law.
Have You Been Injured Because of a Distracted Driver?
Responsible drivers know to not look at their cell phones when they’re driving. The risk for hurting themselves and others is too high. All it takes for a fatal accident to occur is for a driver to glance down at their phone and read a text. When they’re looking at the phone, they have no idea what’s happening in front of them. If traffic suddenly slows down, stops, or if someone changes lanes in front of them, the driver will not see and cannot adjust their driving to avoid an accident.
However, people still choose to text and drive. If you or a loved one has been injured because of a distracted driver, you may be dealing with terrible injuries and facing significant financial costs. Treating car accident injuries can require hospital visits, surgeries, medication, therapy, and an overall long recovery process. Figuring out how you’re going to afford this care can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.
Having dependable legal representation can help you get the compensation you need. A Charleston car accident lawyer from DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC can guide you through your claim. Our firm has represented car accident victims in the past. We’ll use our experience and skill to fight for you to recover from this accident. Your compensation can provide the financial relief to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages the accident cost you.
It’s important to get started on your case quickly. Physical evidence from the accident can fade over time, but if the investigation starts quickly, crucial details may be discovered that benefit your side of the story. Get in touch with our law office today. We’ll review the validity of your claim and work with you so you can make the decision that best benefits your future.