Texting while driving is perhaps the most dangerous form of distracted driving, and this year Virginia lawmakers have expanded hands-free driving prohibitions to combat this problem.
Because new laws have been implemented in recent years, it is not uncommon for residents of and visitors to Virginia to be unaware of the specific laws and ordinances in our state. We’ve provided the following information to help you understand the laws regarding texting and driving in Virginia.
Is It Illegal to Text and Drive in Virginia?
According to Virginia Law, it is illegal to type a text message into a handheld device or to send or receive email while driving, with certain exceptions. It is also illegal to have your hand on a handheld device in a highway work zone.
Dangers of Texting While Driving: Statistics
A recent survey revealed that 98 percent of drivers were aware of the dangers of driving. Three-fourths of them admitted to doing it anyway.
It is clear that this is a significant issue in our society, and the numbers prove that point:
- Cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes per year, according to the National Safety Council.
- 25 percent of car accidents are caused by texting while driving.
- Texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than drunk driving.
- Answering a text takes an average of five seconds. At 55 mph, that is enough time for a car to travel the length of a football field.
Virginia Hands-Free Law
The Code of Virginia, § 46.2-1078.1 establishes the hands-free laws in the Commonwealth. The law states that it is illegal for anyone to operate a vehicle while using their phone to:
- Manually text (as a means of communicating with someone else).
- Read any text messages or emails sent to or stored on the device. This doesn’t apply to looking up the name or any number stored in the device or other identification info.
It is also illegal for anyone who is driving in a highway work zone to even hold a phone in their hand.
Exceptions to the Texting Prohibition
There are some notable exceptions to the texting-while-driving prohibition. These include:
- An emergency vehicle operator performing official duties
- A driver who is lawfully parked or stopped
- A driver who is using GPS to transmit or receive data as part of a digital dispatch system
- A person using a handheld device to report an emergency
Contact Ruloff, Swain, Haddad, Morecock, Talbert & Woodward, P.C. If a Texting Driver in Virginia injured you
If you have been in an accident with a driver who was texting while driving, don’t hesitate to reach out to a Virginia texting-while-driving accident lawyer today.
The experienced accident lawyers at Ruloff, Swain, Haddad, Morecock, Talbert & Woodward, P.C. can seek the compensation you are owed, which you may need for medical bills, time off from work, and pain and suffering.
Call us or reach out online to schedule your free consultation.