You have heard that it is dangerous; you know it is even illegal in many areas. Texting while driving is a form of distracted driving that has serious repercussions. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017 there were more than 3,000 lives claimed during traffic accidents in which distracted driving was the cause. Most of us want to be safer drivers on the road but have a bad habit of allowing ourselves to engage in risky behavior like texting and driving. Is it possible to correct this poor behavior and stop playing with your phone while behind the wheel?
Texting And Driving in West Virginia
The answer is Yes! It is not that difficult to change this dangerous behavior, and you can do it, too. Bans that have been put in place by 47 states in the country, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands certainly make legal issues a big motivator for stopping drivers from texting. In West Virginia, laws have been enacted to discourage distracted driving since 2012.
The laws in the state forbid drivers to use any handheld devices while behind the wheel. Under these laws, authorities can pull over a driver if they suspect that he or she is using a handheld device while on the road. There does not have to be any other visible violations occurring at the time of the incident, and officers will issue tickets to violators. As long as a car is running, it does not matter if it is actively driving or stopped at a traffic light, handheld devices are strictly banned and drivers will be held accountable if they are caught using one.
Texting and driving are considered a primary offense in West Virginia. Authorities take these laws seriously. There is strict enforcement throughout the state to deter motorists from engaging in these unsafe driving practices. Fines issued can be as high as $300 for repeat offenders, and those who continue to engage in texting while driving will receive demerit points on their license.
The consequences for drivers that repeatedly engage in texting while driving increase in severity with each offense. Not only do repeat offenders face increasing fees from fines, but they can also face increased insurance premiums as well as revocation of their license and driving privileges. The expansive state of West Virginia is such that most residents require a car to go about their daily lives. Losing your license is not something that is ideal for most West Virginians, which is why it is highly advisable to learn how to stop texting while you are driving.
Physical Damage From Texting and Driving
There have been many studies done on those that text and drive. Texting while behind the wheel has been shown to be just as dangerous if not more than driving while intoxicated. Statistically, you are 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident if you are texting while driving. The United States will see on average one out of four accidents result from those who text while driving.
It takes approximately five seconds of your time and attention to answer one text. In that amount of time, you could travel the length of a football field if you are going 55 mph. There are almost 400,000 injuries from traffic accidents each year that were caused by texting while driving. These are just a few of the consequences of texting while driving. If you engage in this behavior, you are putting the lives of yourself, your passengers, and any others sharing the road with you at risk.
How to Stop Texting While Driving
So, how exactly can you break the bad habit of texting while driving? The first step just makes common sense: Do not have your phone on you while you drive! Keep it in your trunk, or put in the back seat, anywhere that puts it out of reach. If you need to use it, you can pull safely over to the side of the road, go get it, and make your call or send your text while your car is turned off.
Technology is amazing and because texting while driving is understood to be such an epidemic, there are apps that address the issue. There are literally dozens of free app options that you can put on your phone that will stop your phone from being used while you are driving. LifeSaver is an example of an app that will completely lock your phone while you are driving then unlock it once you stop driving.
You also can challenge your self-control. Make a habit of sending texts or making calls before you get into the car, and then not allow yourself to do any until after you reach your destination. If you have to send a text or make a call, follow the rule that you must pull over to a safe location in order to do so. Be consistent and follow these rules every time you get into the car. Before you know it, you will not even need to actively restrain yourself from using your phone while you are driving because you will instinctively do it.
Have You Been Injured in an Accident by a Distracted Driver in West Virginia?
Car accidents are the leading cause of personal injuries and deaths for Americans. Injuries from traffic accidents can have long-term consequences for victims which negatively impact their lives. Loss of wages from missed work, mounting medical expenses, expensive personal property damages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress are all reasons for victims to pursue compensation after an accident.
You have rights that deserve to be protected and you deserve compensation when you have been injured by a negligent party. The West Virginia personal injury lawyers at Goddard & Wagoner, LLC will aggressively fight on your behalf to obtain the highest settlement amount for your personal injury claim. We care about ensuring your best interests are met. Contact us today to speak with one of our Morgantown personal injury lawyers during a free consultation. The experienced West Virginia car accident attorneys at Goddard & Wagoner, LLC have offices conveniently located in both Clarksburg and Morgantown. Call us at (304) 584-1430.