Statistics show that distracted driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle crashes throughout the Commonwealth – especially cell phone use while driving.
Drive Smart Virginia notes that 80 percent of traffic crashes in Virginia – that is 8 out of every 10 traffic accidents – are caused by a distracted driver. Cell phone use reduces your ability to focus on driving by almost 40 percent, according to the traffic safety organization.
Texting while driving, sending or reading e-mails while behind the wheel or checking social media accounts while driving can make you 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found.
One way to reduce the incidence rate of distracted driving involves increasing your own awareness and others’ awareness of distracted driving dangers and educating others about the penalties of distracted driving in Virginia.
Distracted Driving Laws in Charlottesville, VA
Virginia law prohibits a person from using a “handheld personal communication device” while operating a moving motor vehicle on any Commonwealth highway. This includes cell phones and smartphones. A driver is barred from using the device to:
- Manually enter multiple letters or text in the device as part of a message to another person; or
- Read any e-mail or text message that has either been transmitted to the device or that is stored in the device (however, contact information of persons, including names and numbers, are exempt from this law).
The ban against texting while driving or reading or sending e-mails while driving applies to drivers of all ages.
Distracted driving penalties in Virginia consist of fines. Violations of the law are traffic infractions with the amount of the fine dependent on the number of prior violations. A first violation is punishable by a fine of $125. Second or subsequent violations are punishable by a fine of $250.
How Does Virginia’s Distracted Driving Law Compare to Other States?
Punishing distracted driving and cell phone use is becoming increasingly popular in the country. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, Virginia is:
- One of 38 states that ban all cell phone use by novice drivers (those under 18 years of age)
- One of 20 states that bans all cell phone use by school bus drivers
- One of 46 states that bans all drivers from sending, receiving or reading text messages or e-mails while driving
- One of 41 states that makes distracted driving a primary offense (meaning that an officer can stop and ticket a driver who violates the distracted driving law even if the officer does not observe the driver committing any other traffic offense).
Contact Our Winchester Car Accident Lawyers for Help
Car accidents caused by distracted drivers using their cell phones or smartphones can be easily prevented if these drivers would simply put their phones down while driving.
However, distracted driving is not likely to decrease until individual drivers who are aware of the dangers and knowledgeable about the legal ramifications choose not to use their cell phones or smartphones while driving.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver in Charlottesville or the surrounding area, contact Kendall Law Firm.
We help injured car accident victims throughout Virginia and can meet with clients at any of our firm’s office in Charlottesville or in our meeting locations in Winchester, Harrisonburg, Staunton or Woodstock. Reach us today by phone or by using our firm’s online form.