West Virginia ranks as 8th worst state for distracted driving in a recent study
Personal finance website MoneyGeek recently ranked the top 25 worst states in the U.S. for distracted driving fatalities per billion miles traveled. Each state was ranked using crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
West Virginia ranked the eighth-worst state in the nation for distracted driving. Our state had approximately 54 deaths caused by distracted driving from 2017-2018. The statewide distracted driving fatality rate for those two years was 1.4 per billion miles traveled. The national average is 0.94.
What are West Virginia's laws on distracted driving?
The Mountain State ranked surprisingly high in the study — despite strict laws prohibiting all phone use behind the wheel. Under §17C-14-15, drivers are prohibited from texting and using a handheld device for any reason. Drivers are allowed to connect phones through BlueTooth or other hands-free technology.
The law also bans drivers from using phones while stopped in traffic or waiting at a red light. Drivers must pull over and have their cars in park before they can use handheld devices. That's unless connected through hands-free technology.
Distracted driving is a serious safety concern
These types of crashes killed approximately 2,841 people across the U.S. in 2018, according to the NHTSA. An estimated 400,000 people sustained injuries. Among those who died:
- 1,730 were motorists
- 605 were passengers in cars
- 400 were pedestrians
- 77 were bicyclists
Driver inattention doesn't always include phones, however. Some drivers have the tendency to multitask behind the wheel. There are currently no laws prohibiting many other forms of distracted driving. This may include:
- Eating and drinking
- Tuning a radio
- Using a built-in infotainment system
- Taking care of personal hygiene
- Talking with passengers
- Looking elsewhere besides the road ahead
- Engaging in egregious behavior, such as reading books or exercising
What you should do if injured by a distracted driver
If you were hurt, or lost a loved one, due to a crash with a distracted driver, get the legal help that you need. The West Virginia car accident attorneys at Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC have years of experience helping injured road users recover medical expenses, lost wages, and damages relating to pain and suffering.
Our legal team knows how to investigate car accidents and gather evidence to support your claim. We also negotiate with insurance companies for a fair settlement and will take them to trial if they refuse to budge. Contact us online or call us at 888-720-1001 to schedule your free consultation.