New Virginia Law Makes "Texting and Driving" a Primary Offense
There are some important changes to Virginia law coming July 1. Perhaps the most important traffic safety change is that texting and driving will become a primary offense. No longer will an officer have to catch you violating another law before pulling you over for texting on the road. You can still text at stop lights, but not while driving. The statistics support this change. Texting and driving has been shown to be more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). There is an exception for using your GPS. How the police will tell the difference, only time will tell, but I wouldn't underestimate a police officer's ability to figure out what you are doing with your phone.
As for penalties, it used to be a slap on the wrist. $20 for first offense and $50 for subsequent offense. Come July 1, expect to fork over $125 for the first offense and $250 for subsequent offenses.
The inconvenience of pulling over or waiting until you reach your destination to send and read messages is worth it. I've represented numerous clients who have sustained serious injuries due to a distracted driver. If you cause an accident, expect the victim's attorney to subpoena your cell phone records so it will come into evidence that you were texting and driving. Also keep in mind, you or your passentgers could be your own victim.
Here's a link to an entertaining video on this very serious subject.
If you have any questions regarding the new Virginia law. please contact me at (804) 325-4992 or email me through my website. In the coming weeks, I will be posting more information about important changes in Virginia law.