Virginia's Cellphone-Use & Texting-While-Driving Laws

Read about Virginia’s distracted driving laws and the costs of a violation.

Virginia's distracted driving law generally bans texting and talking on a handheld cellphone while operating a vehicle. Here are the specifics of what the law prohibits and the costs and other consequences of a texting or cellphone violation.

Texting and Cellphones

Virginia's distracted driving law specifically prohibits holding a personal communication device while driving. So, this broad prohibition makes it illegal to text message or talk on a handheld cellphone when operating a vehicle.

Distracted driving penalties. A distracted driving violation is a traffic infraction. A first offense carries a fine of $125. For a second or subsequent offense and offenses that occur in highway work zones, the fine is $250.

Exceptions to the distracted driving ban. Virginia's distracted driving law contains a number of exceptions. The exceptions include device use by emergency services personnel and to report an emergency. The ban also isn't applicable for drivers who are lawfully parked or stopped.

Distracted Driving Rules for School Bus Drivers

School bus drivers are generally prohibited from using wireless telecommunication devices while operating a bus. There are, however, exceptions for emergencies, two-way radio devices, communicating with dispatch while parked, and communicating with school or public safety officials using hands-free technology. A violation is a traffic infraction and carries up to $250 in fines.

Distracted Driving Rules for Commercial Drivers

Commercial drivers who are driving vehicles designed or used to transport between nine and 15 passengers (including the driver) are prohibited from talking (and texting) on a cellphone while driving. The only exceptions are for contacting police and emergency personnel and talking on a phone using hands-free technology. Drivers who violated the law face up to $2,750 in civil penalties.

Distracted Driving Rules for Underage Drivers

Motorists who are under 18 years old are prohibited from using cellphones and other wireless telecommunication devices while driving. The prohibition applies regardless of whether the device is being used in a hands-free manner. A violation is a traffic infraction and carries up to $250 in fines. For a second or subsequent violation, the judge can suspend the driver's license for up to six months.

Traffic Violation Points

Generally, a distracted driving violation will result in three traffic violation demerit points. Accumulating too many points can lead to license suspension.

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