A growing number of Virginia car accidents being attributed to distracted driving prompted state lawmakers to stiffen the penalties for those caught texting and driving earlier this year. However, the law may be less effective than legislators had anticipated.
The Washington Post explains that the law previously made an infraction for texting and driving only punishable by a $25 fine. Furthermore, an infraction was only a secondary offense, meaning a driver would have to commit another more serious infraction before they could be stopped.
In February, legislators made reforms to the law that allows officers to now stop anyone who is suspected of distracted driving with no other reason. The fines for an infraction were also bumped to $125 for a first time offender and up to $250 for every subsequent infraction.
While the new law sounds much tougher, some experts believe there may be several loopholes in the law that could allow motorists to get away with the crime. Drivers are still allowed to use their hands to make calls on cellphones and enter data into GPS units. If pulled over, a driver would only need to say they were engaged in either of these behaviors.
At Geoff McDonald & Associates, our Richmond, VA injury lawyers recognize the dangers distracted driving can pose. That’s why the firm asks each motorist to put their phones down and focus on the road when behind the wheel of a vehicle.