Virginia Law and Distracted Driving

Virginia Law and Distracted Driving
Categorized: Virginia Blogs

Ninety percent (90%) of driving is visual and when you are distracted and take your eyes off the road even for a second, you have significantly reduced your ability to drive safely. What won’t wait until you are stopped? Is changing that radio station, putting on makeup, or responding to a text really worth your life or the life of another while on the road?

There are four types of driver distraction:

● Visual – looking at something other than the road

● Auditory – hearing something not related to driving

● Manual – manipulating something other than the wheel

● Cognitive – thinking about something other than driving

Most distractions involve more than one of these types, with both a sensory (eyes, ears, or touch)and a mental component. Distraction occurs when a driver voluntarily diverts attention to something not related to driving that uses the driver’s eyes, ears, or hands.

Current Virginia Law:

● Ban on all cell phone use (handheld & hands free) for bus drivers (Primary Law)

● Ban on all cell phone use (handheld & hands free) for novice drivers (Primary Law)

● Ban on texting for all drivers for bus drivers (Secondary Law: Primary Law for bus   drivers). $20 fine (first offense) then $50.

Virginia politicians (Senate and House of Delegates) have had many bills before them proposing to tighten and/or add various legislation to Virginia’s distracted driving laws.


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Reminds me of when drunken driving laws were lax until enough deadly crashes occurred.

A case involving a 2011 fatal accident where a texting driver who struck and killed a college student and the subsequent loss of the trial on “reckless driving” highlights the disconnect between the law and reality as to the dangers of distracted drivers.  

 “It’s a great disappointment and it’s a blow to traffic safety in the state of Virginia,” AAA Mid-Atlantic rep John Townsend said upon hearing that all distracted driving bills in Virginia were rejected in 2011.

Distracted driving is a menace on our roads as according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – NHTSA car accidents resulting from distracted driving killed 5,474 people and injured approximately 448,000 more in 2009. A distracted driver may be more prone to cause a head on or rear end collision, run red lights, disregard posted traffic signs or swerving into other lanes into other traffic or off the road completely. 

Bottom line – pay attention while you are driving. Whatever you need to do can wait until you are stopped.  Your life and the life of others depend on it.

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