West Virginia Motorist Info

The following information is updated periodically. However, laws and regulations can change between updates. State statutes and local ordinances are the ultimate authorities for these issues.

Points of Interest

  • The town of Summersville, located on US 19 in Nicholas County between interstates 77 and 79, is a notorious speedtrap, featuring a four-lane highway with paved shoulders and generous sight distances and a 50 mph speed limit though much of town after miles of a lightly enforced 65 mph limit. This town of just over 2,000 residents maintains a municipal police force of over 20 that generates millions of dollars each year from mostly out-of-state travelers they know will not return to town to fight their tickets.
  • A license to carry a concealed firearm issued to a nonresident by another state shall be honored if such state provides reciprocal privilege.

Speed Limits

Rural Interstates: Cars 70, Trucks 70
Urban Interstates: Cars 60 or 65, Trucks 60 or 65
Other Limited Access Roads: Cars 65, Trucks 65

These speed limits apply unless a different limit is posted.

Speed limits are absolute–exceeding the speed limit is illegal per se (regardless of whether it was safe under the specific conditions).

Speed Limits Enforcement Techniques
Enforced through use of:
Pacing: Yes
Radar: Yes
Vascar: No
Automated Speed Enforcement: No
Aircraft: No
Laser: Yes

Ticket Payment Methods
Consult your ticket or clerk of courts

Trial By Declaration Allowed

Allowed with provisions

Jury Trial Allowed
Speeding: Yes
Parking: Yes
Equipment: Yes
DWI: Yes

Member of Nonresident Compact

Member of Driver License Compact

When and Where to File Accident Reports
The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person or total property damage to an apparent extent of five hundred dollars or more shall immediately by the quickest means of communication, whether oral or written, give notice of such accident to the local police department if such accident occurs within a municipality, otherwise to the office of the county sheriff or the nearest office of the West Virginia state police.

(West Virginia Statute 17C-4-6, http://law.justia.com/westvirginia/codes/17c/wvc17c-4-6.html)

Resident Insurance Requirements
Liability insurance is required (although some states allow posting a cash bond or such as an alternative)
Minimum Coverage Required:
Injury to one person: $20,000
All injuries: $40,000
Property Damage:$10,000

Phone/Texting Restrictions
Hand-Held Ban: All drivers
All Cell Phone Ban: Drivers younger than 18 who hold either a learner’s permit or an intermediate license
Texting Ban: All drivers
Enforcement: Primary: for all offenses

Other Regulations

  • The BAC level is .08 percent.
  • West Virginia has an administrative license suspension law and an implied consent law. The breathalyzer refusal penalty is a 1-year-to-life driver’s license suspension.
  • A hit-and-run with a fatality is a felony.
  • As of May 24, 2016, West Virginia became a constitutional carry state. Any person 21 years or older who is legally able to own a handgun may carry the weapon concealed without the need of obtaining a permit. A permit is required for individuals 18-20 years old who wish to carry a handgun concealed. Carry permits are still issued on a “shall issue” basis to anyone who would like one for reciprocity purposes.
  • Studded tires are permitted from November 1 to April 15.
  • Tire chains are not required.
  • It is unlawful for a person to operate a passenger vehicle on a public street or highway of this state unless the person, any passenger in the back seat under eighteen years of age, and any passenger in the front seat of such passenger vehicle is restrained by a safety belt meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards. The penalty for violation of the safety belt law is $25.00. Points will not be added to an operator’s license for violation of this law.
  • Every driver who transports a child under the age of eight years in a passenger automobile, van, or pickup truck, other than one operated for hire, on a street or highway of this state, shall provide for the protection of the child by properly placing, maintaining, and securing the child in a child passenger safety device system meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards: Provided, that if a child is under the age of eight years and at least four feet, nine inches tall, a safety belt shall be sufficient to meet the requirements of this section.
  • West Virginia has a mandatory motorcycle helmet law.
  • Registration and insurance card must be carried in the vehicle.

General Information
http://www.transportation.wv.gov/dmv/Pages/default.aspx (Department of Transportation, Motor Vehicles Division)
Emergency Cellular Phone Number: *SP (*77)