Starting today, July 1st, 2013, Virginia has put a new texting and driving law into effect. As of now, anyone found texting while driving could be guilty of a primary offense. The law considers texting and driving to be "distracted driving," which could lead to serious car accidents and therefore accidental injury or even death. According to the new law, any Virginia driver is prohibited from manually dialing emails or text messages in the car, as well as reading any emails or texts on an electronic device. Sending and receiving text messages can make you 23 times more likely to get in a crash. Distracted driving is the cause of many traffic collisions in Virginia and the state wants to reduce the number of vehicle crashes per year.
The penalties under the new Virginia law are stiff. For a first offense, anyone found texting and driving will have to pay $125. With any subsequent offense, the driver will be required to pay $250. Any driver found texting and driving in a reckless manner will also be forced to pay a $250 mandatory fine. Law enforcement officials are hoping that these tougher penalties will discourage drivers from driving a motorized vehicle while distracted. Before the implementation of this new law, texting and driving was a secondary offense and drivers could only be cited if they violated another traffic law of some sort. Now that it is a primary offense, police officers are allowed to pull over and ticket anyone that is seen texting and driving.
This new law may change the penalties for texting while driving, but it does not change the hand-held device law that is already in place. If you have been charged with texting while driving, you will need assertive legal advocacy to protect you from the possible penalties. Contact Virginia criminal defense lawyer Vaughan C. Jones from the firm today to handle your case.