Texting While Driving in Virginia: What You Need to Know
More than 97 percent of people in the U.S. own a mobile phone of some type, and 85 percent own a smartphone. Most of us have become accustomed to using our phones all the time. Talking on the phone, texting, surfing the web, browsing or posting to social media, or using one of the countless apps available has become an integral part of daily life.
However, if you’re tempted to do any of this while driving in Virginia, you should think twice. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles takes texting and driving seriously, and they have developed regulations to limit the dangers of this activity.
Unfortunately, a National Highway Safety Traffic Administration report revealed sobering statistics. According to their research, 13 percent of all fatal distraction-related crashes in 2018 involved the use of a cell phone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2019, 39 percent of high school students who drove in the previous 30 days emailed or texted while driving on at least one of those days.
If you have been injured in a car accident where the driver of the other vehicle was texting, consult an experienced Virginia car accident attorney to learn about your legal options for pursuing the compensation you deserve. For a free, no-obligation case review, call a Richmond texting-while-driving injury lawyer at The Johnson Injury Firm at 804-262-9000 or contact us online.
Texting While Driving Laws in Virginia
In Virginia, new laws related to cell phone use and texting while driving went into effect on January 1, 2021. It is now illegal to hold any handheld personal communication device, such as a smartphone, while driving. There are a few exceptions, which include:
- Emergency vehicle drivers engaged in official duties
- Anyone calling to report an emergency
- The use of a citizens band radio
- A person operating a Department of Transportation vehicle during the management of a traffic incident
- A lawfully parked or stopped driver
Texting while driving is also illegal in Virginia and considered a primary offense. A first-time conviction of texting while driving carries a $125 fine, while second or subsequent offenses carry a $250 fine.
Why Texting and Driving Is Dangerous
Texting and driving is a form of distracted driving, which is a serious problem in the U.S. According to the CDC, eight people die each day in car crashes that involve a distracted driver. In 2018, there were an estimated 400,000 people injured from distracted driving.
The CDC recognizes three general types of distractions that impact drivers: Visual distractions, which take your eyes off the road; manual distractions, which take at least one of your hands off the vehicle’s steering wheel; and cognitive distraction, which takes your focus off the task of driving. Texting while driving involves all three types of distractions, which make the activity especially dangerous.
It takes just five seconds to read the average text message. However, if you’re traveling 55 miles per hour, you can travel the length of a football field in that time, all while your eyes and focus are off the road. In addition, according to a study conducted by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in 2018, texting while driving doubles a driver’s chances of being involved in a car accident.
Compensation If You’ve Been Hurt by a Texting Driver
If you were injured in an accident caused by a driver distracted by texting, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for the injuries and losses you suffered, such as:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Physical rehabilitation
- Lost income if you’re forced to miss time from work during your recovery
- Lost earning potential, if the accident causes long-term or permanent disabilities
- Pain and suffering
- Lost quality of life
How a Lawyer Can Help
At The Johnson Injury Firm, we understand the significant stress and financial strain that suffering a serious injury in a car accident can place upon you. You may be facing extensive medical expenses and loss of income as you struggle to manage medical appointments and make ends meet.
Our Richmond car accident attorneys will leverage our in-depth experience and resources to develop a strong and persuasive case on your behalf to pursue the full and fair compensation you need. You’ll always work directly with our personal injury attorneys, and we’ll remain by your side throughout your case.
We’ll dedicate ourselves to protecting your rights and getting the positive outcome you deserve. Call our office today at 804-262-9000 or contact us online for a free initial consultation.