Updated on September 21st, 2022 at 07:35 pm
Distracted Driving in VA
Fight Distracted Driving Charges in Harrisonburg
Effective Defense Against Traffic Offenses
Many people take traffic tickets lightly, assuming that they can just pay them and they will go away. However, paying any type of traffic ticket is considered a guilty plea and does not give you the opportunity to fight the charge. Distracted driving is a common charge which can cover a wide range of actions, from texting and driving to eating while driving. At Keefer Law Firm, we understand the seriousness of the charges you are facing and can fight them effectively.
Contact us today at (540) 433-6906 to request a free consultation with a Harrisonburg distracted driving lawyer.
Distracted Driving Laws in Virginia
In the state of Virginia, the law prohibits the use of a cell phone or any other type of electronic device while driving is illegal. This is one of the most common causes of preventable accidents, especially those which occur in areas where the lanes are narrow or in construction zones.
According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, there are three types of distractions while driving :
- Cognitive distractions – these are distractions that take the driver’s mind off the driving task.
- Visual distractions – these include anything that’ll take the driver’s eyes off the road
- Manual distractions – these are distractions that cause the driver to take their hands off the motor vehicle’s steering wheel
The top actions responsible for distracted driving crashes include:
- Cell phone use
- Talking to passengers
- Using maps
- Using the radio
- Using a navigation system
Note: reading or sending a text while driving increases your crash risk by 2,300 percent since it involves all three types of distraction. According to the CDC, using your cellphone while cruising at 55 miles per hour is akin to driving across a football field blindfolded.
What Are the Penalties for Distracted Driving?
According to the new Virginia Cell Phone Law of 2020, driving while operating or holding a personal communications device is a primary offense. Consequently, you can be charged with civil negligence and fines.
The consequences for any traffic infraction may include demerit points to your driving record and fines to the state of Virginia. If you accrue too many demerit points, your license may be suspended, or you may be required to attend a driver improvement clinic.
The fines incurred include:
- A $125 fine for a first-time offense
- $250 for subsequent offenses
- $250 for violations in highway work zones
- If you are charged with reckless driving, you may get a $2,500 fine, 12 months in jail and a six-month license suspension.
But like with other laws, there are exceptions to cell phone driving laws. These include:
- The operator of an emergency vehicle while on duty
- A driver that’s lawfully stopped or parked
- Any person using a mobile device to report an emergency situation
- Using wireless communications devices like a citizens band radio
- Hands-free methods of using hand held devices are okay according to Virginia laws. You can talk on the phone or instruct your phone to do specific things, provided you aren’t holding your phone. Hands-free devices can be your phone’s speakerphone, a Bluetooth earpiece or a Bluetooth dashboard system.
Tips for Following Hands-free Cell Phone Laws
Some alternatives to using your cell phone while driving include:
- Use hands-free voice or Bluetooth commands – provided you operate your cell phone without taking your eyes off the road; you are good to go. Virtual assistances like ‘Hey Siri’ and ‘Ok Google’ can perform various tasks with minimal distractions.
- Put your phone on Do Not Disturb mode- if you don’t have voice command or hand-free features on your phone, activate ‘do not disturb’ mode until you’re done driving. This removes the temptation of texting and answering calls.
- Keep your phone out of reach- keeping your phone in the glove compartment or back seat is a good way of avoiding absent-minded cell phone use.
Protecting Your Rights & Your Future
The difference between civil and criminal negligence can often be fuzzy in the eyes of the law and these types of decisions are left to the judge, which is why having a skilled Harrisonburg reckless driving attorney on your side is essential. At Keefer Law Firm, we are here to represent your best interests and protect your rights.
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When You Need a Traffic Lawyer,
Keefer Law Firm Can Help.
- Attorney Keefer is one of the few people in Virginia to call himself a NHTSA Certified Field Sobriety Instructor.
- He has completed the DOT Certified Breath Technician course on the EC/IR II, Virginia’s breath tester for evidence.
- He was a founding member of the DUI Defense Lawyers Association and is a member of the National College for DUI Defense.
- Attorney Keefer has more than 30 years of experience providing legal representation throughout Virginia.
- Our office contains the Alco-Sensor III, which is also used by law enforcement for preliminary breath testing.
- We offer free consultations for traffic offense and DUI cases.