Statewide ban on holding a cell phone while driving takes effect Jan. 1

Statewide ban on holding a cell phone while driving takes effect Jan. 1

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The new year brings new laws. Starting Jan. 1 it’s illegal in Virginia to hold a cell phone or other mobile device while driving. Local drivers like Alicia Thompson are all for it.

“Honestly it’s a great thing because it is a really big distraction for a lot of people especially teenagers,” Thompson said.

The fine for getting caught holding a phone while behind the wheel is $125. Additional offenses jump to $250. Local driver Cozette Mcgee supports the new law.

“I am glad they are doing that because there’s been a lot of accidents,” she said.

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She is right, it can lead to deadly accidents like one in Central Virginia in 2018. A Chesterfield woman hit and killed three people and an unborn child just seconds after texting a friend.

You can still use your phone with your car’s Bluetooth system or with an earpiece, but remember just one earpiece. While the statewide law is new, over the summer a Richmond City ordinance banning cell phone use while driving took effect. 8News did some checking with Richmond Police to see how the new law has been working inside city limits. However we found as of early December there’s been no summonses issued to drivers under the city’s new ordinance.

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We were told since July 1 officers have written three summonses under a state code making it illegal to text while driving. RPD told us in a statement their approach “the past few months has been more focused on education, instead of enforcement.”

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