LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Timothy R. Miley | Jun 24, 2013

West Virginia Cell Phone Laws

More and more states are enforcing stricter laws when it comes to the use of a cell phone and texting while driving. In West Virginia, cell phone laws are changing in the near future.

West Virginia Cell Phone Laws and Texting While Driving

The use of handheld devices and texting while driving is banned in West Virginia. The cell phone laws surrounding these bans are either primary or secondary.

Primary laws allow police to issue a citation for texting or using a cell phone behind the wheel even if no other traffic violation has been committed. Secondary laws allow a citation to be given only if there has been another violation, for instance, running a red light or speeding.

Currently, using a handheld device while driving in West Virginia is a secondary law. However as of July 1, 2013, it will become a primary law. Texting is already a primary law. This applies to all drivers (new and experienced) of all ages.

Penalties for Violating West Virginia’s Cell Phone & Texting Laws

Recent reports indicate that in just the first 10 months of the law banning texting and talking on a cell phone (which was implemented in the summer of 2012), 125 drivers were given citations.

Penalties for violating these laws start with a $100 fine but increase to $200 and then $300 with each subsequent offense. A third offense will result in three points on a driver’s license.

Legislators are already looking into a ban on another device that is still in design, Google Glass, which can be worn on the person’s head. Technology of this nature could prove to be just as distracting as using a handheld device.

It’s important to note that West Virginia cell phone laws don't just ban the use of cell phones while driving; they also ban other devices such as Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), portable/laptop computers, electronic games, pagers and other electronic communication devices. It should be understood that when it comes to using cell phones, the ban applies to calling, talking, answering, texting and reading messages.

Liability for an Accident When Using a Cell Phone

If someone is found to have been using a cell phone at the time of a car accident, it may be considered a contributing factor. As a result, the driver could be found liable. Cell phones can be an issue in a crash because of the fact the driver may not be paying attention to the road and the task of driving.

For instance, the driver might fail to see that a vehicle in front has suddenly stopped. It could be too late to brake safely, resulting in a rear-end collision. Or the driver might be using only one hand to steer, while holding the phone with the other hand, resulting in loss of control of the vehicle.

It sometimes can be challenging to prove that a cell phone was the cause of an accident. Talking to an attorney can help an injured victim learn if there is a viable claim. The Miley Legal Group has attorneys who are knowledgeable in accident cases and understand the impact West Virginia’s distracted driving laws can have on a case. Check out our eBook, The 7 Biggest Mistakes that Will Wreck Your West Virginia Accident Case.

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