New Virginia Laws Target Texting and DrivingApril 27, 2016
Today new Virginia laws passed in recent legislation by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Bob McDonnell will go into effect. One of the more talked-about laws is the new texting and driving ban that imposes heavier fines for drivers who are caught texting while driving. Compare.com has the details regarding how the new texting and driving laws will affect you, as well as information concerning other new driving laws in Virginia.
What does the new Virginia Texting and Driving law say?
Previously, under Virginia law texting and driving was considered a secondary offense. This means you could only be charged with texting while driving if you were pulled over for another offense. The new Virginia law now defines texting and driving as a primary offense. Additionally, the state of Virginia has increased the amount of fines related to texting and driving from $20 for the first offense and $50 for a second offense to $125 for the first offense and $250 for the second. The new Virginia law also states that a person may be fined an additional $250 if they are convicted of reckless driving and the reckless driving charge includes texting while driving. This means a person charged with reckless driving as well as texting and driving could be forced to pay as much as $ 2,750.The state hopes that increased fines and the crackdown on texting while driving will help in preventing this dangerous behavior. Drivers should be aware that while the law bans texting and driving, it does not restrict using cell phones for GPS or dialing calls. These new laws go into effect today, July 1, 2013. Police enforcement is also expected to be increased this entire week to coincide with the passing of the new laws and the 4th of July holiday.
Another new Virginia law increases penalty for DUIs
In addition to a ban on texting and driving, Virginia also toughened laws pertaining to drinking and driving. This new Virginia law states that, as a condition of a restricted license resulting from a DUI conviction, drivers will be required to have their vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device. This device requires the driver to use a breathalyzer to confirm there is no alcohol in their system in order to be able to turn the vehicle on. Previously, implementation of this device was mandatory for second DUI convictions only, first time offenders were not required to use this device.
New laws affecting moped and scooter drivers
In addition to the texting while driving ban, one set of laws that aren’t getting a lot of air time but will have a big impact on Virginians (Richmonders in particular), are the new requirements for moped and scooter drivers. Especially popular in cities such as Richmond, mopeds are a common low-cost means of transportation. The new laws going into effect today require moped drivers to wear helmets as well as eye protection such as a helmet with face-shield or goggles. The law provides exception for the eye protection portion if a moped or scooter has a wind shield. Drivers will now be required to carry a photo ID and the moped must be registered and titled with the Virginia DMV. License plates for mopeds and scooters are now required.
New Virginia driving laws small part of larger group of new laws
The texting and driving ban wasn’t the only major law enacted on July 1st. The 2012 General Assembly passed a total of 849 measures, all of which were signed by Gov. Bob McDonnell with the exception of eight measures that were not signed into Virginia law. The laws passed span an impressive breadth and range from measures impacting local schools to tightening of penalties for various crimes throughout the state. For more information on the individual Virginia laws going into effect on July 1, 2013, you can visit the sites below to learn more:
Learn more about new Virginia laws:
Don’t get fined because of texting and driving!
Compare.com offers helpful articles that can give you alternatives to texting and driving, information about anti-texting and driving apps, and more. Stay informed and read on:
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