Do you use a cell phone while driving? Some surveys suggest that over 80 percent of drivers do, and Virginia lawmakers are starting to take notice. Not only is cell phone use behind the wheel becoming alarmingly prevalent, but it is also very dangerous.
With accidents caused by cell phone users costing Americans $43 billion each year, there is immense pressure on legislators to further restrict driving laws. And it isn’t just about hands-free devices. Studies have shown that drivers are equally distracted and likely to cause serious auto accidents whether they are talking on a hand held or hands free mobile phone.
Virginia probably won’t be banning cell phone use completely any time soon. It has taken a number of years just for lawmakers to push some very basic cell phone driving restrictions through the General Assembly, although this year text messaging was banned for all drivers.
Below is a summary of cell phone laws in Virginia:
- There is no overall ban on the use of handheld devices while driving in Virginia
- Cell phone use is banned for all drivers under the age of 18
- Cell phone use is banned for all bus drivers
- Sending or receiving text messages or emails while driving is banned for all drivers in Virginia
- Cell phone and text message bans are only enforceable for secondary enforcement (this means police cannot pull somebody over for using a cell phone; drivers can only be cited if they are pulled over for another reason)
- The ban on handheld devices is enforceable by primary enforcement only for bus drivers (they can be pulled over just for talking on a cell phone)
Read more about distracted driving in our law library article “Distracted Driving: A Growing Danger on Virginia Roads”.