Is it Illegal to Use a Cell Phone While Driving in Virginia?
Justin Sheldon—May 15, 2017
Driving while using a cell phone has been a hot topic for a few years now because of the growing data about the dangers of distracted driving caused by the use of cell phones. Some states have banned the use of cell phones while driving altogether, however, Virginia law is not so straightforward.
In Virginia, only drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from cell phone use completely, this includes hands-free cell phone use. Those above the age of 18 may use their cell phone, however, texting while driving is prohibited for all ages.
Understanding the Laws in Virginia
Additionally, school bus drivers are also banned from cell phone use while driving. Unlike some states, there is no hand-held ban on cell phone use. In other words, a driver will not face penalties simply for holding their cell phone while driving.
However, if an officer sees a person using a cell phone while driving and suspects they are texting, the officer may legally pull them over. Breaking any of these cell phone laws is considered a primary offense for drivers over 18, and a secondary offense for drivers under the age of 18.
How Dangerous is Using a Cell Phone While Driving?
Primary Offense vs. Secondary Offense
A primary offense means the officer may pull a driver over for the cell phone offense and needs no other reason. A secondary offense means the officer can only issue a ticket if the officer saw the driver commit another violation. For example, if a driver was speeding and also talking on his cell phone, the officer could pull him over for speeding and also issue him a ticket for cell phone use. A first offense warrants a fine of $125, and $250 for ensuing offenses.
If you were in an accident with a driver who was using a cell phone illegally, you may be able to seek compensation for the damages. Our Virginia Beach and Richmond personal injury lawyers have been advocating for the injured since 1979, and we are confident we can represent you in your auto accident case. We have a proven record of success, with more than $350 million dollars recovered for our injured clients and bereaved families.
Now that you know the laws, it is time to hold the liable party responsible if you or a loved one was injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver.
After graduating, cum laude from the University of Richmond School of Law in 2011, Justin Sheldon began his legal career with a large national firm doing high-stakes business litigation. He soon moved on to a boutique firm specializing in auto products liability litigation throughout the United States.