Distracted driving is a common cause of auto accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, driving distractions played a role in more than 400,000 serious injuries and 2,800 fatalities in 2018 alone. Most states, including West Virginia, restrict the use of handheld devices behind the wheel to prevent catastrophic collisions.
Review West Virginia distracted driving laws to stay safe on the road.
Device use restrictions
Drivers may not make phone calls, send messages or otherwise use any handheld electronic communication device while operating a motor vehicle. State law prohibits these actions even if the driver has stopped at a red light or stop sign.
West Virginia drivers can use hands-free technology to make phone calls, send messages, and operate devices for navigation, streaming audio and other functions. However, the law prohibits school-bus drivers from using a hands-free device on duty.
These prohibitions do not apply to radio-based communication or to emergency first responders on duty. Drivers can use a handheld device only to activate or deactivate Bluetooth hands-free settings. They can also make phone calls to report emergency situations.
A distracted driving ticket in West Virginia is a primary offense, which means law enforcement can stop a driver for cell phone use even without other traffic violations. The first offense is a fine of $100, the second offense is $200 and all further offenses are $300. Third and subsequent offenses also carry driving record demerits.
Following these laws can help prevent serious injury in a distracted driving crash.