Many bad driving practices make the roads in Virginia and throughout the U.S. unsafe for drivers and pedestrians. Drivers who engage in actions such as drunken or drugged driving, drowsy driving and speeding cause a heavy share of accidents.
The category of distracted driving remains an area of focus for traffic officials and road safety advocates.
New law goes into effect in 2021
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles highlights a cell phone usage law that went into effect at the start of 2021. The law takes aim at the serious consequences of distracted driving. The recently passed law prohibits drivers from holding cell phones or other hand-held wireless communication devices while operating a motor vehicle.
The new law provides for a few exceptions. The first is in the case of an emergency. The second exception allows cell phone usage when the driver is stopped or legally parked. Also, drivers of emergency vehicles can still use a cell phone in approved situations.
Virginia drivers can use hands-free devices to make phone calls. This allows drivers to use technology that involves a Bluetooth system, an earpiece in just one ear or a cell phone mounted on a dashboard. Drivers convicted of violating the law can receive fines of $125 for a first offense and $250 for any subsequent offenses.
The new law expands previous efforts
According to information from NBC Washington, the previous law in Virginia only penalized cell phone usage in a work zone. The previous law also prohibited reading or typing an email while driving, as well as texting while driving. With the new law, Virginia joins many other states with efforts to reduce accidents caused by distracted driving.