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Is It Safe to Use a Hands-Free Device While Driving?

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Some people believe that hands-free devices are safer than cell phones when driving. But is this true? Using these devices and other electronics can be just as dangerous while driving. This article, provided by the car accident lawyers of Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci, will explore the risks of using a hands-free device while operating a vehicle and take steps to minimize these risks.

Using a hands free device should help cut down on distracted driving, but is that really the case?

Virginia’s  Hands-Free Law

Virginia law prohibits all drivers from using a handheld personal communications device like a cell phone while driving. This means that you cannot hold the phone in your hand or use any part of your body to support the device. Virginia law also prohibits drivers from sending or reading text messages, email, or accessing the internet while behind the wheel.

This law applies to all vehicles, including cars, trucks, motorcycles, and buses.

If a law enforcement officer catches a driver using a handheld personal communications device while driving in Virginia, it could be a costly traffic infraction. You will face a mandatory fine of $125 for a first offense, which increases to $250 for a second or subsequent offense. You may also have your driver’s license suspended for up to six months.

Drivers Under the Age of 18

Virginia drivers under 18 can’t use a cell phone while driving with a class one or two learner’s permit. This means that teen drivers cannot use any electronic devices when operating a moving motor vehicle in Virginia. This law will be in place until the teen driver obtains their full Class One or Two Virginia Driver License.

Are There Any Exceptions to Virginia’s Hands-Free Law?

There are a few exceptions to Virginia’s hands-free law. People are allowed to use a handheld device while operating motor vehicles if they are:

-Reporting an emergency to an agency that provides traffic incident management services.

-Using the device as part of their official duties (i.e., a police officer, firefighter, paramedic, or another driver of an emergency vehicle).

What Devices are Considered Hands Free?

A hands-free device is a speakerphone, headphone, or another electronic device that allows you to talk on the phone without holding it. Some of these devices connect via Bluetooth technology, while others plug directly into your cell phone’s headset jack. However, for a device to be considered “hands-free,” you must talk on the phone without holding it.

Hands-Free Devices and Other Electronics

Even though using a handheld personal communications device while driving is illegal in Virginia, using a hands-free device is not. But, just because it is legal doesn’t mean that it is safe. Using a hands-free device can be just as dangerous as using a handheld device.

There are many risks associated with using a hands-free device while driving. These risks include:

Distracted drivingWhen talking on the phone, you are not paying attention to other drivers. This can lead to dangerous situations, like crashing into another car or hitting a pedestrian.

Driver fatigue – Using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle can lead to driver fatigue, which can be just as dangerous as distracted driving.

The best thing drivers can do is avoid distractions while driving. The only way to ensure your safety, as well as the safety of others, is to keep your focus on the road. If you need to make a call, pull over to a safe location before doing so.

If you must use your phone while driving, put it in speaker mode so you can keep both hands on the wheel. This will help reduce the number of distractions and ensure that you are driving safely on the road.

Why has Virginia’s Cell Phone Law Changed?

Virginia laws are changing to help reduce the number of injuries and deaths on Virginia roads.

There were 847 fatalities in 2020 due to auto collisions. Distracted driving was a factor in about 80% of all crashes.

Across the United States in 2020, nearly 15% of all fatal collisions involved cell phone use. In addition, more than 4,000 people died in 2018 due to the actions of distracted drivers. 

These numbers show just how dangerous using a cell phone while driving can be for yourself and others around you. Therefore, it is important to be safe on the road and follow all laws. This will help keep everyone safe while driving.

What is Considered a Handheld Device?

A handheld device is anything that takes your attention away from the road. This can include:

-Your phone

-Your GPS

-Your smartwatch

-Any other electronic device, such as a citizens band radio

You can use your phone when parked or stopped at a red light, but not while driving on the road. You should never text and drive, either. This is because it takes just as much attention away from the road as talking on the phone.

Is It Legal to Text While Driving in Virginia?

It is illegal to text while driving in Virginia. Virginia lawmakers put this law into place to help reduce the number of car accidents due to distracted driving.

Texting while driving is just as dangerous as talking on the phone while driving. It can be even more dangerous because texting takes your attention and eyes away from the road.  This law applies to both handheld devices and hands-free devices. If you are caught texting while driving, you can face a fine of up to $200.

How to Be Safe When Using a Hands-Free Device

To stay safe and avoid getting into any car crashes due to using your hands-free device, follow these tips:

1) Use voice commands instead of touching the phone when dialing out or inputting information.

2) Make calls only when necessary – preferably when you are lawfully parked or stopped.

3) Do not text at all while driving.

Hands-free devices offer many benefits and are safer than handheld cellphone use while driving. If you are careful to follow the law, using a hands-free device while driving can be a smart and safe choice. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident involving a negligent driver, contact the trial lawyers at Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci today for a free consultation.

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