The law in Virginia regarding texting while driving changed for the better, when law makers in Virginia passed a change to state law that will lead to stiffer penalties for those found texting behind the wheel. Previously, Virginia law said that texting, reading email or doing other activities on a smartphone were secondary offenses under the law. That meant that officers could only pull over a driver and cite him or her for texting if there was another, primary offense that justified the stop such as speeding or running a red light. Obviously this hampered law enforcements efforts to crack down on texting given the added hurdle of finding a primary offense to justify a traffic stop.
Since then, Virginia law has changed and texting is considered a primary offense, meaning officers can pull a driver over just for texting. With the change, Virginia become the 37th state to make texting while driving a primary offense. Additionally, the fines for texting while driving were also increased, up from $20 to $125.
These legal changes were welcome and long overdue. Research by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute has shown that texting while driving is six times more likely to lead to an accident than driving while intoxicated, a scary fact that seems to justify stringent penalties.
According to AAA, using a cellphone while driving more than quadruples your risk of being involved in a car accident. Every day distracted driving contributes to more than 8,000 car accidents, far too many given how easily prevented the accidents are.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a terrible Virginia car, motorcycle or truck wreck caused by a distracted driver, it’s critical that you reach out to an experienced attorney who has successfully handled similar cases. The attorneys at my firm recently recovered nearly $70,000 for one of our clients, a student at a university in Norfolk, VA, who suffered serious injuries after being hit by a distracted driver.