Regardless of laws banning cellphones behind the wheel, drivers still take their chances and use them. Statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association show that over 2,800 traffic deaths in 2018 were due to a driver’s distraction.
West Virginia banned the use of cell phones behind the wheel in 2013, going so far as to make it a primary offense. Even with this action, drivers still engage in risky behavior while operating a vehicle. Discover some of the common activities that have the potential to become deadly and what authorities do to help stop them.
More than cellphones
Widespread smartphone use has made it more common for drivers to text, call or email while in motion. However, handheld electronic devices are not the only distractions to drivers. Things people may never consider could pose a significant accident hazard:
- Eating and drinking
- Following a map or GPS generated route
- Fixing hair and applying makeup
- Talking to or directing children and other passengers
- Dealing with transported animals
Anything that draws a driver’s attention from the road to something else in the vehicle is a distraction.
Legal consequences in West Virginia
When a police officer pulls someone over for distracted driving, he or she saw the driver using an electronic device. The law explicitly bans any activity that forces a driver’s eyes to focus on something else, such as reading, writing or sending emails or texts.
Drivers also cannot hold a cellphone while calling someone. They must utilize speakerphone or their vehicle’s Bluetooth setting. Those drivers under 18 years old must not use a cell in any capacity, even while handsfree.
The first distracted driving offense comes with a $100 fine. The second doubles that fine. The third offense gives a $300 fine and points on the driver’s license.
The government and various support organizations continue to educate drivers on the dangers of driving distracted. Take care on the road to avoid becoming a statistic in this nationwide issue.