In 2019, a Virginia Tech report stated that inattentive drivers caused over 23,000 vehicle collisions. The state passed laws limiting cell phone use while driving to decrease these incidents.
Avoid citations and accidents by becoming familiar with the state’s cell phone laws.
Phone calls must be hands-free
Keeping both hands on the wheel is easier with hands-free communication. Virginia’s law recognizes this and requires drivers to use any method of hands-free communication to talk on the phone while driving.
This regulation is a primary offense, which means a law enforcement officer can pull a driver over for no other reason than seeing them holding a cell phone. The first offense is a fine of $125, increasing up to $250 for additional citations.
Texting while driving is illegal
Using a cell phone to send texts or read emails is also illegal. The time and concentration required to send a text message take your attention off the road. Drive Smart Virginia states that drivers who text while driving are 2300% more likely to experience a collision.
While sending text messages is a traffic citation on its own, law enforcement may charge drivers with reckless driving if they are also driving unsafely. This offense is a misdemeanor that could lead to extensive fines and jail time.
Exemptions to the rules
In certain situations, drivers may use their cell phones while driving to call emergency services without risking a citation. Additionally, drivers may use hand-held cell phones when the car is legally parked or stopped.
Becoming familiar with these laws keeps you and other drivers safe on the road while avoiding a citation from law enforcement.