It used to be that texting while driving was a secondary offense, which meant that law enforcement could only cite you for that offense if they had another reason to stop you.  But as of July of 2013, texting while driving is now a primary offense.

Va Code § 46.2-1078.1 states that a driver cannot manually enter multiple letters or texts, and read email or text messages while driving.  Drivers are still permitted to use their hands to dial a phone call.  There even is an exception for those using their phones to get directions using GPS.

Still, it is wise to avoid using your phone while driving since studies show that phone use while driving increases the rate of accidents.  Furthermore, law enforcement officers do not need to know exactly what you are doing on your phone to issue a summons and you will find yourself in court.

Fines for texting while driving have also been raised from $20:

“C. A violation of this section is a traffic infraction punishable, for a first offense, by a fine of $125 and, for a second or subsequent offense, by a fine of $250.”

Be safe out there!

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