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Is it Illegal to Use a Cell Phone While Driving in Virginia?

The law in Virginia states that you can’t use a handheld personal communications device, such as a cell phone, while driving – unless it is for emergency purposes. If you need to make an emergency call, the law says you should pull over and park before making or receiving any calls. This law also applies to texting, accessing the internet, or using the GPS navigation system on your phone.

At Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci, we’ve represented many clients who suffered injuries in accidents caused by distracted drivers.  Unfortunately, many of these drivers were using a cell phone while behind the wheel. If this has happened to you, get in touch with our firm for a free evaluation of your case.

Using a cell phone while behind the wheel is not only illegal, it's also extremely dangerous.

Virginia’s Hands-Free Law

It is illegal for Virginia drivers to use handheld personal communications devices while behind the wheel of a car, truck, or another type of vehicle. However, there are some exceptions.

– If you are lawfully parked or stopped.  

– If you use an amateur or citizens band radio.  

– If you use a hands-free device or voice activation.  

– If you are reporting an emergency.  

Penalties for Violating the Virginia Cell Phone Law

If a law enforcement officer catches you using a cell phone while driving in Virginia, you will face a $125 fine for your first offense. A second or subsequent offense for this traffic infraction will result in a $250 fine. In addition to the fines, you may also receive points on your driver’s license. You can lose up to three points for violating the law, and if you accumulate eight or more points in any 12-month period, your driver’s license may be suspended.

Will My Car Insurance Go Up if I Get a Citation for Violating the Cell Phone Law in Virginia?

If you are caught using a cell phone while driving in Virginia, your car insurance company can raise your rates.

Your car insurance company may increase rates for policyholders who receive moving violations, including cell phone use while driving. A first offense will often result in a rate increase of about 25%, with subsequent offenses resulting in an even higher rate increase.

How Bad a Problem is Distracted Driving in Virginia?

Virginia’s new law on handheld devices went into effect on January 1, 2021, and nearly 2,000 Virginians were issued citations for violating the law within six months.

According to the Virginia DMV, more than 800 Virginians died in motor vehicle accidents in 2018, and an estimated 15% of those fatalities directly resulted from distracted driving.

If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver who was using a cell phone or by someone who otherwise exhibited reckless driving, the law firm of Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci may be able to help. Get in touch with us as soon as possible for a free evaluation of your case.

What are the Dangers of Using a Cell Phone While Driving?

Using a cell phone while behind the wheel can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.

– It can take up to five seconds for a driver to return their eyes to the road after looking at their phone.

– At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

– Drivers who are distracted are more likely to run a red light or stop sign, and they are more likely to get into a car accident.  That will often result in the person injured by the distracted driver being transported to a hospital in an emergency vehicle. 

– Drivers who use their phones while driving are also more likely to be involved in rear-end collisions.

Can You Text While at a Red Light in Virginia?

You can legally use your phone to text while stopped at a red light in Virginia, but you cannot do so if you’re in a moving motor vehicle.

– If law enforcement catches someone texting and driving, they will likely issue them a ticket for violating the law against using a mobile device while operating a vehicle.

– Texting, while stopped at a red light, is legal in Virginia, but it is still discouraged. It’s best to put your phone away until you reach your final destination.

What Can You Do if You Get a Ticket for Violating the Cell Phone Law in Virginia?

If you receive a citation for violating the law against using a mobile device while driving in Virginia, you can take one of several actions.

– You can pay the fine and move on.

– You can choose to go to court and fight the charge.

– You can choose to go to trial.

You must appear before a judge if you decide to fight the charge in court. The prosecutor will have to prove that you were using your phone while driving, and you will have the opportunity to prove otherwise.

It’s important to note that law enforcement can use more than your word against you to prove that you were using a mobile device while driving. For example, they may present evidence such as phone records or eyewitness accounts in court.

Is There Anything I Can Do to Avoid Getting a Ticket for Using My Cell Phone While Driving?

You can do several things to avoid getting a ticket for using your cell phone while driving.

– Don’t use your phone while driving, even for a quick call or text.

– Keep your phone out of sight and put it on silent mode.

– If you need to make a call, pull over and park before making the call.

– If you have to make an emergency call, push the phone’s speaker button and place it on your seat, using your hands for driving.

– Set a specific time limit for yourself when you use social media apps like Facebook or Twitter.

What Should I Do if I’m Involved in an Accident with Someone Who Was Using a Cell Phone While Driving?

If you are involved in an accident with someone using their mobile device while driving, call 911. 

If law enforcement arrives on the scene and determines that either driver was at fault for the car accident because they were distracted by their cell phone use, that driver can receive a ticket or citation from law enforcement.

It’s important to remember that law enforcement will investigate all accidents and use all available evidence to determine which driver was at fault. Therefore, it’s best to stay calm and cooperate with law enforcement if you are involved in an accident with someone using their phone.

Why Should I Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer if This Happens?

If you are injured in an accident with someone who was using their phone while driving, you may have the right to file a personal injury claim.

– A personal injury lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options after being involved in an accident.

– They can also help you file a lawsuit against the driver who was using their phone and may be able to recover damages on your behalf.

Speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. They can help you understand your legal rights and options and may be able to help you pursue a case against the driver who was at fault.

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