Over 1400 texting and driving convictions in Virginia

Published: Jul. 11, 2014 at 9:45 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2014 at 9:45 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - So far, Virginia's convicted 1427 people of texting while driving, that's double what we saw 6 months ago. The law just celebrated one year on the books in the Commonwealth.

The On Your Side Investigators requested statistics from the Department of Motor Vehicles. The agency only has 10 months of data right now and won't have the entire picture until September.

Northern Virginia localities had the most convictions: Fairfax County with 318, Prince William County with 130. They were followed by Virginia Beach with 126 convictions.

In metro Richmond not many drivers have been nabbed for the dangerous activity-- Chesterfield convicted 47 drivers. They were followed by Henrico's 34 convictions and Richmond's 23. There were 16 in Hanover and 9 in New Kent.

The rest of our region only had 1 or 2 texting while driving convictions.

A texting driver took the life of 19-year-old Kyle Rowley. His death helped inspire the change in law.

"You can equate it to being under the influence of alcohol. It's impaired driving," said Kyle's mother Meryl in an interview last year.

The biggest complaint from many police and critics is that the law is hard to prove. Under Virginia's law you are not allowed to text but you are allowed to dial on your phone and to use the GPS navigation system.

"On those occasions it might be hard for police officers when using your phone to determine if you're actually using your phone to text or to receive and email or to read an email," said experience traffic attorney Matt Nelson in an interview earlier this year.

If convicted, drivers currently face a $125 fine.

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