Cell Phones and Texting: Distracted Driving Laws in Virginia

Distracted driving in Virginia is defined as anything that takes your mind and/or eyes off the road while operating a motor vehicle. In Virginia, eight out 10 traffic accidents are related to a driver being distracted. If a driver texts and drives, or becomes distracted by apps on their smartphone, they are 23 times more likely to get into a car accident.

Texting while driving is illegal for drivers of all ages in Virginia. Drivers who are under the age of 18 are prohibited from using cell phones or other types of communication devices while driving as well.

Laws

  • Texting while driving is illegal
  • Drivers under 18 are not allowed to use cell phones at all

There are a few exceptions to these laws.

Exceptions

  • Drivers who are operating an emergency vehicle within their scope of employment
  • A driver who is parked or stopped
  • GPS systems
  • Using a dispatch system
  • Drivers reporting an emergency on a handheld device

Drivers can be pulled over by a law enforcement officer for violating the cell phone laws above without having made any other moving violation, as this is considered a primary law. The texting and driving law in Virginia is considered a secondary law, which means the officer must first witness a moving violation before the driver can be pulled over.

Fines

  • First offense is $125
  • Second and subsequent offenses are $250

Texting and driving is illegal in Virginia. Furthermore, drivers under 18 years of age are banned from using cell phones while driving. It is best to put the cell phone and other electronic devices away while driving so as not to be tempted to check them. This is for your safety and the safety of those around you.


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