Distracted Driving in West Virginia – Texting while Driving outlawed

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Texting and driving is against the law in WV

Distracted Driving in West VirginiaWest Virginia has become the latest state to pass measures making texting while driving in the state of WV against the law, and for good reason – according to NHTSA (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), a Federal Agency, 3092 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver, while approximately 416,000 more were injured in vehicular accidents involving distracted drivers, in 2010. It is astoundingly reported that in that same year nearly 20% of all accidents resulting in injury involved a distracted driver, and that 11% of all teenage drivers who were involved in crashes with fatalities were reported as involving a distraction while driving. Research also concludes that the risk of being involved in an accident while text messaging is over 20 times greater than driving without such distraction. It is estimated that the average distraction from a text message sending and receiving lasts approximately four and a half seconds, which for a driver traveling at 55 mph, is enough time for the vehicle to traverse the entire length of a football field. That is a whopping distance of travel while being distracted by a cellphone.

WV 36th State To Pass Texting-While-Driving Law

When West Virginia Governor Tomblin signed the distracted driving bill into law on April 3, 2012, WV became the 36th state to ban texting while driving.

Texting Ban Effective June 8, 2012 – Enforcement Begins July 1, 2012

West Virginia’s distracted driving law goes into effect on June 8, 2012; however, enforcement of the law will not begin until July 1, 2012, as pertains to enforcement of text messaging while driving. The law is a more comprehensive distracted driving law though, and also outlaws talking on a hand-held device while driving. The legislature have given drivers a bit of a reprieve in WV on the portion of the law covering speaking on a mobile phone, with an additional year lapse, until July 1, 2013, before enforcement of that aspect of the distracted driving law will begin.

Texting While Driving a “Primary Offense” in West Virginia

What does this mean? If you are driving in WV, beginning July 1st, 2012, texting while driving will be a stand-alone offense, for which a driver can be pulled over and issued a ticket, in the absence of any other violations. Just as important, WV joins a large majority of other states to crack down on distracted driving caused by uses of cellphones, for both talking and texting. The larger message is that, regardless of where you are driving, texting or otherwise taking your hands off of the wheel to use a mobile cellular phone while driving is a dangerous practice and in nearly 4/5 of all states is outlawed in one form or another.

Car Accident Liability

In addition to potential fines and penalties from a law enforcement citation, drivers texting while driving or otherwise driving while distracted, by virtue of a cellphone or other device are at grave risk of causing or contributing to an auto accident. If you or a loved one were injured in a car crash, it is important that you speak with a competent attorney to conduct an investigation into the cause of the accident, obtain phone records of involved parties, interview witness and speak with the investigating officers on your behalf. At Adams Legal Group, PLLC, we have extensive experience handling auto wreck cases and would be happy to speak with you about your claim – please call us today at (304) 381-2166.