Northern Virginia Car Accident Attorneys Have Serious Hang-Ups about Cell Phone Use while Driving

As the 21st century wears on, people of all ages are becoming more and more attached to their “screens,” such as laptops, iPads, and e-readers. Perhaps the gadgets we are most reliant on are our cell phones, which have evolved over a short period of time to a one-stop shop for entertainment and communication.

Also on the rise are auto accidents caused by distracted driving—so it is no surprise that legislation is quickly evolving to address the issue of cell phone use while driving. Most states already have laws governing the use of handheld cell phones, but many of these laws were only enforceable if the offending driver was breaking another rule of the road that caused them to be pulled over in the first place. This summer, however, Virginia drivers will be operating under a new set of laws.

Putting a Halt on Distracted Driving: Ending Virginia Auto Accident Injuries

Currently, all drivers in Virginia are prohibited from using handheld cell phones—including texting, while driving. Some drivers, such as school bus drivers and those operating under other commercial licenses, are banned from any type of cell phone use while driving. Fines for these offenses were typically fairly small—a $20 fine for a first-time offender and $50 fines for following offenses. On July 1 of this year, however, these fines will increase dramatically to $125 and $259 for first-time and repeat offenders, respectively.

The big news, however, is that the new legislation makes texting while driving a primary offense in July. This means that previously, while a police officer may have pulled you over for another infraction—say, reckless driving—he or she may have then noticed your cell phone use and ticketed you for that in addition to the primary offense (the reckless driving). With the new legislation, if an officer notices you texting while driving, you will be pulled over for that offense specifically.

Just Drive: Lessen Your Risk of an Accident and Save the Talk for Later

The use of cell phones while driving not only puts you at risk but also the other drivers with whom you share the road. When you use your cell phone to text or make calls without a hands-free device, you not only take your hand off of the steering wheel, but your eyes also leave the road. Because of this, if you are ever involved in a Washington, D.C. area auto accident—even if the other driver was being negligent, as well—you will have a very difficult time proving your case.

If you or a loved one has been injured by someone who was driving recklessly while using their cell phone, the Bethesda car accident attorneys at Lewis & Tompkins are here to help—call today at 202.296.0666 for a free consultation.

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