Distracted driving is a common cause of accidents, especially amongst the younger population. Many states have already enacted laws to help reduce accidents associated with distracted driving.
To crack down on distracted driving, Virginia recently joined other states by introducing a law making it illegal to operate a vehicle while holding a cell phone or mobile device.
When did the new law become effective?
According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, the new law went into effect on January first of this year. It is now illegal to drive while holding a phone. There are a few exceptions, as follows:
- Drivers of emergency vehicles who are utilizing a phone for their job
- Drivers using their phones to report an emergency
- Drivers using a citizens an amateur or band radio
- Drivers operating a DOT vehicle in certain instances
Can drivers still talk while driving?
Drive Smart Virginia states that the Hands Free Driving Law does allow drivers to talk on their phones while driving, but they may not hold them. One of the best ways to prepare before leaving a destination is for a driver to set up a blue-tooth system and install a hands-free device to hold his or her phone.
What are the penalties for breaking this law?
For a first-time offense, drivers will receive a $150 fine. Subsequent violations will result in fines of $250 per occurrence. Violations that occur in highway work zones are subject to $250 fines, even for a first-time offense.
The Hands Free Driving Law is an attempt to make Virginia’s roads safer by introducing stiff penalties for holding a cell phone while driving.