Virginia's Distracted Driving Laws: Texting and Talking on a Cell Phone

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 cell phone while operating a vehicle. Here are the specifics of what the law prohibits and the costs and other consequences of a texting or cell phone violation.

Virginia's Hands-Free Law for Texting and Talking on a Phone

Virginia's distracted driving law is simple and straightforward. It prohibits holding a personal communication device while driving.

Although this broad prohibition doesn't explicitly say so, it makes it illegal to text message or talk on a handheld cell phone when operating a vehicle.

Fines for Distracted Driving Tickets in Virginia

A distracted driving violation is a traffic infraction. The fines are:

  • $125 for first offenses, and
  • $250 for a second or subsequent offense and offenses that occur in highway work zones.

These fines are the same regardless of whether the driver was caught talking on the phone, texting, or doing some other activity on a device.

Exceptions to Virginia's Distracted Driving Ban

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

Distracted Driving Rules for Virginia 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 school bus distracted violation is a traffic infraction and carries up to $250 in fines.

Distracted Driving Rules for Commercial Drivers in Virginia

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 cell phone 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 in Virginia

Motorists who are under 18 years old are prohibited from using cell phones 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 for Virginia Distracted Driving Tickets

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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