Texting While Driving Illegal in Virginia (and Many Other States)

Sending a text message while driving is banned for all drivers in 45 states and the District of Columbia.[1]  But why?  Because more than nine people are killed and more than 1,153 people are injured each day in crashes that involve distracted drivers.[2]

Texting while driving is the most dangerous distracted driving activity because it combines all three types of driving distraction:

  1. Visual: taking your eyes off the road,
  2. Manual: taking your hands off the wheel, and
  3. Cognitive: taking your mind off the task of driving.[3]

In Virginia it is illegal to text while driving, and if you are under the age of 18 it is illegal to use your phone at all while driving.[4]

The same rules apply in North Carolina.[5]  Maryland, Delaware, and D.C. are more strict.  These states do not allow drivers to use hand-held devices or text while driving.[6]  Concerned about the driving laws of other states?  Click here for a comprehensive list.

Distracted driving has a much broader definition than simply “no texting while driving.”  Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention away from the task of driving; this includes: texting, using a cellphone or smartphone, eating, drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, reading, using a map, using a navigation system, watching a video, and adjusting the radio.[7]

“At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving.”[8]

3 Things You Can Do to Prevent Distracted Driving:

  1. Stop using your phone while driving,
  2. Use social media to tell others about the dangers of distracted driving, and
  3. Take the pledge to drive cell phone free.[9]

Distracted driving is a deadly behavior.  By understanding how mental and physical distractions impair drivers and learning how to avoid them, you can help reduce the risk of injury or death.

About The Author: Jamie Kessel is a personal injury attorney practicing with the law firm of Allen & Allen. He has been named one of the 2015 Legal Elite by Virginia Business Magazine. His practice is focused in the areas of car accidents, product liability, premises liability, and distracted driving accidents.

[1] See Distracted Driving, IIHS & HLDI, http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/laws/cellphonelaws?topicName=distracted-driving.

[2] See Distracted Driving, CDC, www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving.

[3] See id.

[4][4] See supra note 1; Code of Virginia §46.2-1078.1, available at http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+46.2-1078.1.

[5] See supra note 1.

[6] See supra note 1.

[7] See U.S. Dep’t of Transportation, Facts and Statistics, Distraction.gov, www.distraction.gov/get-the-facts-and-statistics.html.

[8] Id.

[9] See Distracted Driving: One Call Can Change Everything, NSC, www.nsc.org/lear/NSC-Initiatives/Pages/distracted-driving.aspx .