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Virginia Police Cracking Down on Texting While Driving

Virginia police officers have pulled over drivers they thought might be drunk only to find the person wasn't intoxicated, but texting. In 2010 traffic courts in Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach handled 77 cases in which drivers were ticketed for texting while driving cases, according to an analysis of Virginia Supreme Court data by the Virginian-Pilot. The majority of the drivers either paid a $20 fine before going to court or were found guilty.

Because a law enacted in Virginia in 2009 makes reading or sending text messages or emails while driving a secondary offense, a driver has to be breaking another law like speeding, ignoring signs and signals, or making unsafe lane changes in order to be pulled over.
Police in Virginia Beach were the most aggressive in enforcing the no-texting law, bringing 51 cases to court. Chesapeake, in second place among Hampton Roads cities, saw 10 texting cases.

Texting while driving is deadly. Drivers who text are 23 times likely to crash, according to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, and the head of the Virginia Beach Police Department's Traffic Safety Unit estimated 6 to 10 percent of crashes in involved cell phone use.


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