Texting and Driving in Virginia


Virginia injury lawyers are seeing more serious injury cases involving texting and driving. According to a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study, drivers who text are twenty-three (23) times more likely to crash, a dangerous and illegal practice causing personal injuries and deaths.

In Virginia, texting while driving was outlawed as of July 1, 2009. The action is a secondary offense meaning another law must be broken before a driver can be pulled over. As a result, the law has not been widely enforced. In addition, the fine for a first offense is only $20. Virginia Beach is the strongest in enforcement in the Hampton Roads area. Some cities such as Portsmouth had zero (0) cases, others had a few cases.

The officers must stop for other reasons, but such actions such as weaving, erratic lane changes, and looking up and down can signal to an officer that a driver might be illegally sending a text message or email. (Virginian-Pilot, May 1, 2011). Even then, the officer still needs to stop for another reason in order to write the texting violation.

The Department of Motor Vehicles has found that driving and texting are a dangerous mixture. This act is worse than drinking and driving and can have the same deadly effects, leading to crashes and serious personal injuries, even death.

The problem seems to be worse among teen drivers as texting is a part of their daily social lives. Interestingly, more girls (51%) admit to texting and driving than do boys (31%). However, the law is tough to enforce. The officer must see the texting occur. Such observation requires the officer to be close to the driver�s car and if officers are close enough, they are usually spotted and the drivers then stop the texting.

As a starting point to avoid the deadly crashes and serious personal injuries caused by texting, the action should be made a primary offense. That would help officers to stop offenders and issue violations which hopefully, would deter some of the texting. Albemarle High School incorporates lessons against texting and driving into its driver�s education program. All Virginia high schools should follow this program. At Wilson & Hajek, we represent persons who are involved in serious personal injuries, and as responsible citizens, we believe this dangerous practice must be stopped. We have taken the same position about DUI on our website at www.winjurylaw.com, and will continue our efforts to curb dangerous driving practices in Virginia. You can call for a free consultation concerning your personal injuries in an auto accident or send a question by visiting our website.

Francis P. Hajek Wilson & Hajek, LLC, a personal injury law firm Experienced Injury and Accident Lawyers Serving Virginia, including Albemarle, Charlottesville, Fluvanna, Louisa, Madison, Nelson, Orange, Staunton, Waynesboro


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