Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that 3,154 people were killed and approximately 424,000 people were injured in motor vehicle accidents that involved distracted drivers in 2013. According to the Cellular Telephone Industries Association, as of December 2013, 153.3 billion text messages were sent in the United States every month. The National Occupant Protection Use Survey reports that at any given daylight moment across the country, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving.
W. Va. Code §17C-14-15, which went into effect June 8, 2012, prohibits any driver from texting or using a cell phone without a hands free device while driving. The statute clearly provides that any violation is a primary offense. This means that a law enforcement officer can pull you over based solely on your use of a cell phone while driving. The officer does not need another reason to stop your vehicle.
For a first offense, a person convicted will receive a $100.00 fine. A second offense carries a fine of $200.00, and a third of $300.00. No points are entered on a driver’s record by the Division of Motor Vehicles for a violation.
Enforcement of W. Va. Code §17C-14-15 began on July 1, 2012. The Division of Motor Vehicles reported that in the first 10 months of enforcement, there were 125 convictions of drivers who used their cell phones while driving.
In addition to traffic citations and fines, using a cell phone while driving also exposes a driver to civil liability in the event of an accident. Under West Virginia law, the violation of a statute is “prima facie” evidence of negligence. This means that if a person injures another while driving and using a cell phone, then there is sufficient evidence to establish that the driver using the cell phone was negligent.
According to Money.com, many states are adopting an increase in auto insurance premiums as a penalty for texting while driving. So, in addition to being a criminal offense, texting while driving may cause your auto insurance premiums to increase, which can last for years to come.
If you or someone you know were injured as a result of a distracted driver, contact our law firm now. It is important that you talk with an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure that you are protected and fully compensated for your injuries. At The Moore Law Firm, PLLC, our attorneys have extensive experience in handling car accident cases. We give you the attention you deserve and our results reflect our dedication to your case.