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What you should know about cellphone usage while driving

Virginia drivers need to be aware of state laws applying to the usage of cellphones while driving. It also is a good idea to know the laws of other states before using a cellphone while behind the wheel there. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that while no state has yet completely banned cellphone usage for all drivers, 14 states and Washington, D.C., have banned the use of hand-held cellphones.

Virginia does not yet ban hand-held cellphone usage while driving, but does, along with 37 other states and Washington, D.C., ban all types of cellphone usage by teen drivers. This ban applies to Virginia school bus drivers as well.

Texting while driving

As for texting while driving, Virginia law forbids all drivers of any type and age to do it. Per Drive Smart Virginia, it is not only illegal to send a text message while driving, but also to read one. Only the following four exceptions apply:

  1. If the driver is driving an emergency vehicle
  2. If the driver’s car is stopped or parked
  3. If the driver is using a GPS system
  4. If the driver is reporting an emergency

In all other situations, a first conviction for texting while driving carries a $125 fine. Second and subsequent convictions carry $250 fines.

The onslaught of cellphones during the past 20 years has led to virtually everyone in the country having one and carrying it with them wherever they go. While having the ability to make a call or send a text in an emergency situation is vital to a person’s safety, far too many drivers see nothing wrong with casually talking or even texting on their cellphone while behind the wheel. The evidence of that is widely seen on a daily basis. Such behavior, however, is extremely dangerous, not only to the driver, but also to his or her passengers and all other motorists with whom he or she shares the road.

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