Hands-Free Driving is Now Mandatory in Virginia
In case you haven’t heard: Starting January 1 of this year, it is illegal to simply hold any cell phone or other communication device while you are driving in Virginia. (See the exact law here.)
First offenders will be fined $125. That doubles to a $250 fine for any subsequent violations.
Several exceptions apply:
· Drivers of emergency vehicles, such as firefighters and ambulance drivers, if they are in the middle of an emergency;
· Drivers who are reporting a crime, accident, or other emergencies;
· Drivers who are using HAM or CB radio;
· Drivers who are lawfully parked or stopped on the side of the road; and
· Drivers who are operating a Department of Transportation vehicle or are performing work for the Department of Transportation.
Drivers may answer calls and respond to text messages through Bluetooth devices or using talk-to-text apps, as long as they do not hold the phone in their hands (though this is also distracted driving – please don’t).
And while we’re on the topic of safe driving: It’s also illegal to wear headphones in both ears while driving.