Starting on Monday, July 1, 2013, it will be illegal to talk on a hand held phone and driving in West Virginia. Last year, in an effort to curb distracted driving, the West Virginia Legislature passed a law outlawing texting while driving. The law provided that talking on a hand held cell phone while driving also became illegal but was not immediately a primary offense for which you could be pulled over. However, the law did provide that starting on July 1, 2013, talking while driving on a hand held device would be an illegal, primary offense. This means that beginning on July 1, 2013, police officers can pull you over for talking on a hand held mobile phone.
Distracted Driving is the cause of many car collisions. As these statistics show, distracted driving is a problem in our society:
- In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in crashes involving driver distraction, and an estimated 448,000 were injured. (NHTSA)
- 16% of fatal crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. (NHTSA)
- 20% of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. (NHTSA)
- n the month of June 2011, more than 196 billion text messages were sent or received in the US, up nearly 50% from June 2009. (CTIA)
- Teen drivers are more likely than other age groups to be involved in a fatal crash where distraction is reported. In 2009, 16% of teen drivers involved in a fatal crash were reported to have been distracted. (NHTSA)
- 40% of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger. (Pew)
- Drivers who use hand-held devices are 4 times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Monash University)
- Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. (VTTI)
- Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind. (VTTI)
- Headset cell phone use is not substantially safer than hand-held use. (VTTI)
- Using a cell phone while driving – whether it’s hand-held or hands-free delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (University of Utah)
- Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%. (Carnegie Mellon)
The attorneys at the Manchin Injury Law Group are committed to the safety of all West Virginians. If you have questions about complying with the new law, feel free to contact us.