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West Virginia Distracted Driving Law

April 8, 2024

Distracted driving is a national problem, and West Virginia is no exception. Since the early 2010s, nearly every state has passed some kind of distracted driving law. With cell phones and other electronic devices being as vital to daily life as they are, this will be an ongoing battle to balance society’s dependence on technology with keeping everyone safe. If someone’s distracted driving has caused you injury, a Charleston car accident lawyer may be able to help.

Electronically Distracted Driving Act

The Electronically Distracted Driving Act (EDDA) was passed in West Virginia in 2012. This legislation can be found in 17C-14-15 in the West Virginia Code. The general takeaway of it is that electronic devices should be a distraction while you are driving.

Some of the specific requirements for drivers 18 years and older are:

  • You may not physically support your phone or wireless device with any part of your body
  • Read or physically send any text-based communication. This rule does not apply to hands-free options
  • You may not engage in any form of data retrieval or electronic data communication
  • You may not manually enter letters or numbers on the device
  • You may not watch a video or movie on your wireless communication device
  • You may not record, post, or broadcast video. This prohibition includes video conferencing but excludes dashcams
  • Actively play any game on your wireless communication device

This law allows the use of one button to activate or terminate voice communication. You may only be considered in violation of this law if you are operating a vehicle on a street, highway, or property that is open to the public. This law also provides exceptions to drivers who are lawfully parked.

Penalties for Violating West Virginia’s Distracted Driving Law

As with most moving violations, violating the distracted driving law is considered a misdemeanor offense. However, you may be charged with a misdemeanor for each reported violation. The consequences for violations of this West Virginia Legislature can vary.

  • First conviction within a 24-month period: A fine not to exceed $100
  • Second conviction within a 24-month period: A fine not to exceed $200
  • Third and subsequent conviction within a 24-month period: A fine not to exceed $350, as well as points on your license and possible suspension

These fines can vary depending upon the outcome of the distracted driving occurrence. For example, if you caused severe bodily harm in a car accident while driving distracted, this could result in a higher fine and jail time. If this occurrence caused the death of someone else, you may be charged with negligent homicide.

Distracted Driving in West Virginia

Distracted driving can have deadly consequences that can affect the driver and everyone on the road around them. Technology in our cars is beginning to catch up to make it easier and safer to navigate our roads with technology. However, some will always choose to make decisions that endanger others. West Virginia’s distracted driving law was passed to deter this poor decision-making and protect other drivers on the roads. Keep yourself up to date on distracted driving laws to protect everyone physically and yourself legally.