West Virginia’s Cellphone-Use & Texting-While-Driving Laws

Read about West Virginia’s distracted driving laws and the costs of a violation.

West Virginia’s distracted driving law generally prohibits all drivers from text messaging or talking on a cellphone while operating a vehicle. Here are the specifics, including the fines for a distracted driving ticket.

Texting, Talking on the Phone, and Electronic Device Use

West Virginia’s distracted driving law makes it illegal to drive or operate a vehicle while:

  • text messaging
  • using a cellphone (unless in hands-free mode), or
  • using an electronic communication device (unless in hands-free mode).

The distracted driving restrictions are applicable even when a motorist is temporarily stopped because of traffic or red signals. To lawfully use a cellphone or other electronic device, the driver must park in a location where it’s safe to remain stationary.

Exceptions to the Distracted Driving Law

West Virginia’s distracted driving law doesn’t apply

  • emergency services personnel in the course of their duties
  • reporting an emergency to emergency services
  • activation or deactivation of hands-free equipment, or
  • most radios used for communication.

And, as noted above, cellphone and electronic device use isn’t prohibited if accomplished in hands-free mode.

Penalties for Distracted Driving in West Virginia

The fines for a distracted driving violation are $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and $300 for a third or subsequent offense. The Division of Motor Vehicles will assess demerit points to a driver’s record only for third and subsequent convictions.

Distracted Driving and Other Possible Charges

In certain situations, a distracted driving violation could lead to reckless driving charges. And if a distracted driving offense contributes to the death of another person, negligent vehicular homicide charges are a possibility.

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