West Virginia Legislation
In 2012, the state of West Virginia passed laws which made texting while operating a vehicle a primary offense, and talking on a hand-held cell phone, without a hands-free apparatus, a secondary offense. In July 2013, the legislation expanded to make the latter a primary offense as well, which means that drivers do not have to commit another traffic violation such as speeding, erratic driving or improper lane changes to be pulled over.
Police officers can now stop vehicles and write citations for the sole offense of distracted driving. Signs such as following a car too closely, straying to the left of the center line and other lane violations, are clues to law enforcement that a driver may be distracted while driving.
Distractions for drivers
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration distracted driving includes any activity that causes someone to divert their attention away from the task of operating a motor vehicle safely. Some of the most concerning distractions include:
- Talking on a hand-held cell phone
- Talking to passengers
- Speech-to-text activities
- Eating or drinking
Dangers of texting
There are many more sources of distraction for a drivers, however, the most dangerous activity is texting while driving. Texting incorporates the three primary forms of distraction which includes physical/manual activity, visual and mental distraction. Consequently, texting increases the risk of a car accident by 23 times.
Victims that have suffered injuries or losses in an accident due to a distracted driver should consult with an attorney. A lawyer who is experienced with the laws in West Virginia will be able to assist with pursuing any compensation due for injuries or other losses and to protect the rights of the victim.