Virginia law enforcement expect heavy enforcement of ban on cell phones while driving

Updated: Jan. 1, 2021 at 11:22 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia State Police say this is your warning about a major change in what you can do inside your own car.

Starting January 1, a new state law is in effect making it illegal now to even have your cell phone in your hand if you are behind the wheel.

Police say they plan to be aggressive with enforcing this one. First time caught it’s a $125 fine. If you are caught a second time or in a work zone and your forking out $250.

The hands free law, passed by the Virginia General Assembly, bans holding your cell phone while driving.

That means no texting, calling, fiddling with social media and anything else that puts your phone in your hand while behind the wheel. It’s a major change for all of us, but Virginia State Police are offering up some tips before you put the car in drive.

“You cannot have it in your hand so get those things set up before you hit the road. Set up your play list before you hit the road. Get your GPS and your mapping set up before you start driving so you can still take advantage of those tools and not have them distract you while you’re on the road,” said Sgt. Dylan Davenport, Virginia State Police.

The hands free law actually changed on July 1, 2020. But Virginians got a grace period before enforcement started. Now police are ready to keep the highways and byways a little more safe.

“Many of our troopers are very aggressive in enforcement so there might not be many warnings. So the warning really is now and just to get started and get ready for the low,” said Sgt. Davenport.

There are a few exceptions to the law. It doesn’t apply if your car is lawfully parked or stopped. And it doesn’t apply if you are calling 911.

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