Safety Laws in West Virginia

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There are several resources where you can read the West Virginia safety laws. These resources include the Driver Licensing Handbook and West Virginia Code (Chapter 17: Roads and Highways). This article contains some basic overview of the West Virginia safety laws.

Seat Belts

Wearing a safety belt while in a moving car is not a choice in West Virginia. The law requires you to wear a seat belt every time, not only during the annual Click It or Ticket campaigns. In fact, according to the seat belt law:

  • All drivers must wear a seat belt.
  • All passengers, especially those who sit in front seats, must wear a seat belt.
  • All passengers younger than 18 years using the back seats must wear a seat belt.
  • Anybody caught violating the seat belt laws can be slapped with a fine of up to $25.

Passengers or drivers with a physical or mental condition that makes it impossible to wear a seat belt are required to obtain the seat belt waiver statement.

Child Car Seat

In West Virginia, any child younger than 8 years old and shorter than 4 feet 9 inches must ride in a vehicle while secured by an approved child safety seat. Anybody who violates this law will face a fine of up to $20. This law does not apply to drivers of hire vehicles.

Cell Phones and Texting

All drivers holding intermediate license or learner’s license are not allowed to use cell phones while driving. All drivers, regardless of age and license status, are not allowed to use hand-held cell phones. The code also has some restrictions that apply to texting. All drivers holding an intermediate license or learner’s permit are banned from texting while driving.

West Virginia Helmets law

All bicycle riders younger than 15 years old are required to use helmets while riding. All motorcycle riders are required to wear helmets while riding on West Virginia public roads. All ATV riders younger than 18 years old are required to wear helmets while riding.


All motor vehicles in West Virginia must be fitted with 2 working headlights in each side of front section. All motorcycles must be fitted with at least 1 headlight in the front side. The State Code 17C-15-2 states:

  • Headlights must be turned on from sunset to sunrise and whenever the visibility can’t allow drivers to see vehicles within 500 feet.
  • Motorcycles, mopeds and school buses must turn on headlights whenever they are on the highways.

Unattended Motor Vehicles

It is illegal to leave a vehicle unattended while the engine is running. If you intend to leave your car unattended, you must turn off the engine, lock the ignition, set the brakes and remove the keys. Offenders face a fine of up to $100 for the first offense and hefty fines for subsequent offenses.

Unattended Children and Pets

It is well known that leaving a child or a pet unattended in a vehicle is dangerous. You will compromise their safety and health, especially if the weather is extremely cold or hot. If you suspect unattended child or pet in danger, call 911 immediately.

Reporting Unsafe or Drunk Drivers

If you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol, your driver’s license will be suspended or revoked. If you suspect an unsafe or drunk driver, especially those driving dangerously, report to the law enforcement officers immediately. You can do so by dialing 911.