Virginia lawmakers concerned about enforcing new texting and driving law
Lawmakers recently enacted a law that makes texting and driving a primary offense in order to reduce the number of accidents and injuries.
October 24, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Virginia lawmakers concerned about enforcing new texting and driving law
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When drivers in Newport News hop in their car, they don't realize that sending a simple and brief text message can endanger other drivers on the road. Texting while driving is a form of distracted driving, which kills more than nine people on a daily basis in the United States, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Hesitations about enforcement
To reduce the number of fatalities that are caused by distracted drivers that text while driving, Virginia lawmakers recently enacted a law that makes texting and driving a primary offense, says the Daily Press. This new law, which went into effect on July 1, 2013, allows drivers to be pulled over and fined if they are caught messaging while driving. Before this law went into effect, texting and driving was only a secondary offense in Virginia. This means that before this law was passed, law enforcement officials had to have another reason to pull drivers over before charging them with a violation for distracted driving.
According to the Commonwealth of Virginia, law enforcement can charge anyone with this violation if they are using a handheld device while driving to send a text message, read a text message or send an email.
Although this law is designed to reduce the number of accidents caused by distracted driving, many government officials are concerned about how this law will be enforced effectively, says the Huffington Post. One concern is that police officers will have difficulty distinguishing between someone sending a text message versus using a GPS device or making a phone call. Police officers and other law enforcement officials are advised to use their best judgment when pulling over a driver for texting.
The dangers of distracted driving
Although this new law will prohibit Virginia drivers from texting while driving, other forms of distraction exist. According to distraction.gov, distracted driving is defined as anything that could take away a person's primary focus from driving. Distractions can include:
-Texting or using a cell phone in general.
-Talking to other passengers in the vehicle.
-Using a handheld navigation system or reading a map.
-Dealing with an MP3 device, CD player, or radio.
-Eating and drinking or grooming oneself.
Although all of these distractions can prohibit a driver from focusing on driving, texting is one of the most dangerous distractions. This is because texting requires all three types of attention from a driver which are cognitive, visual and manual.
If you were in an accident caused by a driver that was texting and driving, contact a personal injury attorney to find out what your rights are.
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