Distracted driving can be extremely dangerous, and studies indicate that it is responsible for a significant number or car accidents each year. One particularly dangerous type of distracted driving is texting while driving, as it distracts a person mentally and visually, as well as taking a driver's hands off the wheel.
Because it can be so dangerous, many states have passed laws banning or restricting texting while driving. Last month, both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly voted to pass legislation that will stiffen Virginia's already existing texting while driving laws.
Under the current law, texting while driving was already against the law, and is punishable by a $20 traffic ticket. In addition to the relatively low fine, the law is difficult to enforce as it is a secondary offense, meaning that police could not stop a driver for texting while driving. Currently, law enforcement needs to stop a driver for another violation in order to ticket a driver for texting while driving.
Under the new legislation, texting while driving would become a primary offense, meaning that law enforcement officers could pull drivers over if they see them texting and driving. In addition, the law raises the fines to $250 for a first offense. The fine increases to $500 for a second offense, and if the texting causes a reckless driving ticket, the minimum fine would be $500.
We all know that texting and driving is dangerous, yet the practice seems fairly commonplace. This new law represents an attempt by the legislature to further dissuade drivers from using their cellphones while on the road. Traffic tickets can be costly, both in terms of the fines or penalties imposed and potentially higher insurance rates. Contact a Virginia criminal defense lawyer who knows how to handle traffic matters can help you avoid any points on your license or other negative consequences. Attorney Wilfred Yeargen handles all types of traffic matters, from basic speeding tickets to DUI to driving while suspended. To schedule a consultation with a Virginia criminal defense attorney, contact us today by phone or via email through the contact form available on the right side of this page.