Is it Against the Law to Text and Drive in Virginia?

Safe driving is a duty that you owe to everyone else on the road and not even a fraction of a second’s distraction is acceptable. At high speeds, just losing your attention for no more than a split second can make a collision inevitable.

Not only is distracted driving a serious road safety concern for the people you share the road with but is also a threat to your own safety. While most people may think that texting and driving is doable or that they won’t have to face any consequences, there is no foretelling to warn you of accidents.

Thus, we must make a collective effort, on our part as well, to ensure public safety by avoiding distractions while on the road.

And since using your phone while driving is illegal in Virginia, it is all the more reason for you to be extra cautious, this is especially true for commercial drivers.

Texting & Driving Is Against The Law

If you want the short answer to whether texting and driving is illegal then it is an absolute yes, no doubt about it whatsoever. Starting from July 1st, 2020, the distracted driving law made it illegal for drivers to hold their handheld cell phones while driving.

This law was not enforced until the start of the next year (2021) because the period in between was meant to educate people first and show them that this habit will not go unpunished the next year. So no more texting and driving for anyone.

Of course, this law has certain pretty obvious exceptions for drivers:

  • Emergency vehicle operators can use their communication devices as part of their duty (how else will they know where to go?)
  • Anyone who has parked their vehicle or has come to a halt by the side of the road (legally) can use their phone while inside the said car.
  • Anyone reporting an emergency (i.e. calling 911) via their personal communications device from inside their vehicle will be well in their rights to do so.
  • Drivers can use the citizen’s band radio.
  • Vehicle operators of any entity tied with the Department of Transportation offering traffic incident management services can legally use their communication devices.

What if you don’t comply?

For the first/primary offense, you’ll be fined $125 which will be doubled to $250 for a subsequent offense in their future. And if you violate this law in a highway work zone, even if for the first time, you can expect a fine of at least $250.

Why Are Cell Phones Such A Big Problem?

You wouldn’t believe it if we told you that thousands of car crashes across the USA happen because of cell phone and handheld device use alone! Yes, no other distractions, just the handheld cellphone. Many people think that it’s not a big deal to listen to a phone call or text someone while driving.

And even those who are against engaging in cellular communications while driving have admitted to sending a quick text from behind the wheel to let the other person know that they are driving and can’t talk – kind of ironic, isn’t it?

As we mentioned earlier, at high speeds, distraction becomes much more costly. Even if you lose your concentration for a couple of seconds, or divide it with another task, it can have devastating consequences. Head-on collisions, rear-end crashes, flip-over accidents, single-vehicle collisions, and so on are all possible due to such negligence.

Never be fooled by the false notion that you can do two things at a time when one of them is driving – when you’re driving, that’s all you should concentrate on. Processing the visual and audio cues needed to avoid such crashes is only possible if you dedicate your entire attention to steering the motor vehicle safely.

The best thing to do when you’re getting an emergency call or text message is to pull over to the side, safely, and then communicate your message, without compromising road safety.

Just a PS, using a hands-free device or Bluetooth to listen to a phone call while driving can also cause you to divide your attention and is thus risky.

Distracted Driving Is The Leading Cause Of Crashes

How much multi-tasking is the human brain able to manage at a time? There is no definite answer to this question, but we do know that the more you busy your brain with multiple stuff at a time, the less it will be able to pay attention to one of those things at a time.

If you throw driving into the mix, things will only get worse.

Since your life is at stake here, we would suggest that you should play it safe. While multitasking in difficult situations is possible in theory, you won’t be able to maintain complete attention on the major task at hand, driving, unless your mind is completely fixed on it.

So, no, you should not delve into multi-tasking while driving (or engaging in reckless driving) because now it will be a traffic offense. After all, it is one.

The more appropriate word here would be distracted driving rather than multi-tasking but since the latter is how most people like to put it themselves, so we thought to communicate this way. Here are some shocking facts about this so-called “multi-tasking” or more aptly, distracted driving violation:

  • A crisis demanding immediate resolution, that’s how the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defined distracted driving as a problem.
  • Virginia lags seriously behind most other states in the USA when it comes to driver safety regulations and this has resulted in thousands of crashes, many of which turn out to be fatal, every year.
  • Virginia Tech reported that a whopping 80% of traffic crashes in Virginia happen because of a mere three seconds of driver inattention, yes only three seconds or less!
  • Texting while driving combines all three forms of distractions, visual, cognitive, and manual, and it thus boosts the chance of an accident by as much as 2300% which is much more than what can be said for most other distractions.
  • Most teenagers don’t even consider using the cell phone to look at an app as a distraction while driving, a whopping 80% in one survey showed this trend.

Virginia 2020 Stats For Distracted Driving Accidents

Here’s what Virginia DMV reported about distracted driving: for all the fatal accidents that happened in 2020, Virginia DMV found out that 14.2% of these resulted directly due to distracted driving. Note that this is the lowest possible estimate and it severely under-represents the problem which is probably much worse than what this figure lets on.

The Traffic Records Electronic Data System of Virginia recorded thousands of traffic accident entries for 2020, and of those 18,816 happened because of distracted driving. As for the fatal crashes, around 121 of those happened in 2020.

This data becomes all the more worrisome when you realize that there were fewer cars on the streets because of the COVID-19 pandemic during this time. Yet despite this stark reduction in the traffic density, the instances of fatalities did not fall, in fact, there was a two percent increase.

Experts linked this to distracted driving.

They suggested that emptier roads saw distracted drivers speed unnecessarily and become distracted seeing no not many drivers on the road. This recklessness, created by a false sense of security, resulted in severe accidents and the stats did not fall as much as expected.

Thus it would not be unfair to conclude that distracted driving is indeed the leading cause of traffic accidents and fatalities even in low traffic densities.

It is never justified for you to engage in distractions on the road, be it staring somewhere else or using a phone while driving because activities such as this can endanger others.

Call Us If You’ve Been In A Distracted Driving Accident

Distracted driving accidents can result in serious bodily injuries, emotional trauma, and severe financial loss. You have every right to demand compensation for these losses and while Virginia is a no-fault state, you can still seek a settlement with the other party if your damages are severe enough.

The best you can do is to contact a team of personal injury attorneys as soon as possible after an accident. This way you can make the best of the situation, and since you remember the incident pretty well after the said accident, you’d be better able to guide your attorneys about what happened.

If the at-fault driver was indeed texting and driving while the distracted driving crash happened, our lawyers can simply pull out their phone records to show that this was indeed the case. Just keep the details in your mind and don’t hesitate to call us because, at the VACAIL law firm, we work on a contingency fee basis.

You only pay when you win.

Call us today and we’ll show you how we can help your case.

Yes, it is illegal to text and driving in Richmond, VA. Virginia’s distracted driving law prohibits emailing and texting while on the road. That means you are not allowed to read or type messages while behind the wheel.  Anyone who texts while driving is not only putting their life at risk but also that of other road users. The behavior is irresponsible and punishable by law. If you’re in an accident involving a driver who was texting, talk to a Richmond car accident lawyer at CAIL.

What Are the Fines for Texting While Driving in Richmond, VA?

If a police officer suspects that you are texting while driving, they can pull you over. The fine for a first texting while driving offense is $125. For the second and subsequent offenses, you pay $250 which is double what is charged for the first offense. Texting while driving can cause you to get into an accident. If this happens, you could face a reckless driving conviction. Victims of a distracted driving accident can also seek compensation for injuries caused.

The only time texting while driving is allowed is if you are making an emergency call. An exception is also given to emergency vehicle drivers carrying out their duties. Texting at a red light is not allowed. You can only text when you are legally parked or stopped. 

What Compensation Can a Richmond Car Accident Attorney Get You If You’re Involved in a Distracted Driving Accident?

Drivers who cause accidents because they were texting while driving should be held accountable. Due to their negligence, accident victims suffer injuries, economic losses and pain and suffering. They may even die. Under Virginia law, the injured party should be compensated for this. Insurance companies are however not always willing to pay for damage caused. For more information on insurance claim denial click here. Getting your compensation may be difficult. With an auto accident lawyer in Richmond, getting your claims settled can be less complicated. An attorney will help you file your claims and advise on how much to ask for. Damages you can seek include:

  • Medical bills. This will include money paid for emergency treatment and any future treatment needed.
  • Lost wages. You may have to take some time off work to recover. The wages you lose during this period can be compensated by the insurer of the negligent driver.
  • Pain and suffering. The accident caused you both physical and emotional distress. You can get compensated for this.
  • Lost earnings. In the event your injuries are severe, you may be physically unable to continue working. The driver can be made to pay you for taking away your ability to earn a livelihood.
  • In cases where a car accident victim dies, the family of the deceased can bring a wrongful death lawsuit. The lawsuit filed against the driver at fault can get the family monetary compensation. They will also be claiming compensation for medical bills, lost wages, funeral expenses and so on. 

Let a Richmond Car Accident Lawyer Fight the Insurance Company

Depending on the facts of your case a Richmond car accident lawyer can settle your claims with the insurance company. This settlement process can be quick if the insurance company is willing to compensate you. If that doesn’t happen you can move to court with a civil lawsuit. Your compensation will then be decided by a judge and jury. They will listen to the evidence available on the distracted driving accident and decide the amount of damages to award.

Get a Qualified Auto Accident Lawyer in Richmond Following Your Car Accident

If you are in an accident caused by a distracted driver talk to an auto accident lawyer in Richmond, VA. Do this as soon as you can, preferably as soon as you have received medical treatment for your injuries. The lawyer can help you get damages from the distracted driver who caused the crash. Our Richmond car accident law firm at CAIL has been representing injured parties for years. We are confident we can ably represent you in your personal injury case. We have recovered millions of dollars for our injured clients. So we know what it takes to get a settlement following a distracted driving accident. We will work hard to see you also get the maximum compensation payable for your injuries. To get more information, or schedule a free consultation, call us at 1-804-482-2954 today. Let us follow up your compensation as you recover. 

Let's get started with your free consultation!





    News Archive