Starting January 1, 2020, it is going to be illegal to use a cell phone while driving a vehicle in Virginia. Both of the General Assembly houses voted to pass the new legislation banning cell phone usage while driving, which is designed to prevent distracted driving throughout the state.
If a police officer spots someone on their cell phone, he or she has the right to pull them over, and the driver could be subject to hefty fines. The first time you are caught, you are going to get a fine for $125. For any additional offenses, you must pay a $250 fine. The current law in Virginia claims that you cannot text while driving; the new law builds on that and says you cannot use the cell phone at all while driving. The issue with the current law is that drivers can still make Snapchat videos, play Pokemon Go, and play other games, as well.
One issue with the new law is that drivers can still look at their cell phone to get GPS information and can still touch or use their phone while waiting at a stoplight.
Studies have shown that these cell-phone bans can be effective at decreasing how many drivers get distracted while on the road. Along with such, drivers tend to stop using their phone while driving. However, the bans have not affected how many crashes there are. Research has shown varied results for states that enacted total cell phone use bans while behind the wheel. The amount of people using their phones did drop, but the drivers who did use their phones did more with them. The issue is that smartphones allow for more than taking calls and answering texts. People can still type, poke, press buttons, or use a variety of apps.