Virginia's Ban on Texting While Driving Proving Tough to Enforce
An article in the Chesterfield Observer shows very few drivers are getting ticketed for texting while driving. Effective July 1, 2013, Virginia joined many other states in making texting while driving a traffic offense. The law was deemed necessary due to growing evidence that distracted driving was causing more traffic accidents and deaths. At any given time over 600,000 motorists are texting while driving according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This led to over 420,000 accidents in 2012 which was a 9% increase over the prior year. Virginia data showed that texting while driving contributed to 20% of all fatal accidents in the state.
Despite the widespread problem of texting while driving, Chesterfield only issued 50 tickets in the 9 months after the law went into effect. So in one of the most populated jurisdictions in Virginia about 1-2 tickets per week were issued. In case you are wondering, the penalty for texting while driving in Virginia is $125 for the first offense and $250 for each subsequent offense.
Texting while driving is a bad habit we all needs to be broken. It's tempting to pick up the smartphone while stuck in traffic and start a texting conversation. However, the statistics show it can be as dangerous as driving drunk. If you cause an accident with injuries you are bound to get sued for texting while driving. In litigation attorneys frequently subpoena cell phone records to see if the other driver was distracted. The best advice is if the call or text isn't important then let it wait til you get to your destination. If it is important then pull over.