driver looking at no texting while driving message on cellphoneDistracted driving claims over 3,500 lives per year and is the cause of more than 20,000 accidents a year in Virginia alone—nearly 17% of all accidents in the state. The data is clear: using a cell phone in any manner while driving is incredibly dangerous. Taking your eyes off the wheel, even for a split second, can end in disaster.

Despite increasing laws and regulations throughout the country attempting to crack down on cell phone use while behind the wheel, many drivers still participate in this dangerous habit every day.

Penalties for Texting and Driving in Virginia

Nobody leaves their house thinking today is the day they’ll get into an accident. But if you’re using your phone while driving in Virginia, you’re tempting fate—and inviting legal trouble as well. Texting while driving in Virginia is against the law and can carry a fine of $150 for the first offense and $250 or more for subsequent offenses.

If you cause an accident while texting and driving, you could face additional serious penalties, including charges that carry a prison sentence if someone dies as a result of the texting and driving accident. In Virginia, it is illegal to even hold your phone in your hand while driving, even if you aren’t using it. Because texting and driving accidents can cause serious accidents, injuries, and deaths, avoiding tickets isn’t the only reason not to text and drive.

Virginia Drivers Engage in Multiple Forms of Distracted Driving

Many drivers aren’t even aware that they are driving with multiple forms of distracted driving happening at once, which increases the potential for car crashes and tragic injuries to happen. Listening to the radio, manipulating the car’s entertainment system or navigational system, consuming food and beverages while driving, and carrying on conversations, especially with small children who may be crying or demanding attention—all of these are forms of distracted driving and can contribute to you being involved in an accident.

Texts are one of the most controllable aspects of distracted driving. By simply putting the phone down and concentrating on the road, you’re reducing your risk of being involved in an accident. No text is more important than someone’s life, including your own. Accidents happen in a split second and can have a devastating impact that can last forever.

Preventing Texting and Driving Accidents

The news is not all bad. Raising awareness about the dangers of distracted driving is starting to reduce the number of tragic incidents related to texting and driving. The number of Virginians killed in distracted driving accidents decreased by over 18% in 2021 vs. 2020, and the number of people injured in those accidents decreased by more than 5%.

The seven tips in the infographic below can be printed out, posted in your home, and distributed to members of your family to remind everyone that “it can wait.” It Can Wait is a pledge program created by AT&T to raise awareness about the dangers of texting and driving, including helpful tips for driving without distraction.

These tips aren’t just for drivers. Did you know that nearly 60% of drivers will stop their distracted driving behavior when it is pointed out by a friend or passenger? By following these tips and eliminating distractions for drivers, lives can be saved.

Read these tips before every road trip to keep them fresh in your mind, and don’t be afraid to speak up if you have friends or family participating in distracted driving.

If you are the victim of a car accident in Virginia and believe distracted driving was involved, contact the lawyers at Dulaney, Lauer & Thomas as soon as possible after the accident to help recover the damages you’re entitled to under Virginia law.

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Andrew Thomas
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Civil litigation attorney in Virginia and is AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.

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