At Dominion Risk Advisors, we pride ourselves on serving our clients with superior advice and highest standards, advocating for you in all things insurance, risk management, and claims. That includes helping you stay up to date on changing laws that involve risk management.
As many may know, on July 1, 2020, it became illegal in the State of Virginia to have a handheld device in hand while driving on any road or highway. What many may not know is that the enforcement of this law will not go into effect until January 1, 2021, which allowed 6 months for the public to be educated about these new provisions.
To avoid potential legal problems, we encourage you to educate your employees and family about these changes.
According to drivesmartva.org, here are the exceptions to this law:
- The operator of any emergency vehicle while engaged in the performance of his official duties
- An operator who is lawfully parked or stopped
- Any person using a handheld personal communications device to report an emergency
- The use of an amateur or a CB radio
- The operator of any Department of Transportation vehicle or vehicle operated pursuant to the Department of Transportation safety service patrol program or pursuant to a contract with the Department of Transportation for, or that includes, traffic incident management services as defined in the Virginia Code during the performance of traffic incident management services
Manually entering multiple letters or text in the device as a means of communicating with another person or reading any information on the device is a punishable violation. First offenses will receive a fine of $125, and a second or subsequent offense will see an increase to $250. Breaking the law in a highway work zone is punishable by a mandatory $250 fine.
Keep in mind you can talk on the phone while driving, but you may not have the device in your hand or lap. In other words, you cannot touch your phone while behind the wheel. This would be the time to invest in a phone cupholder or hook up/connect the Bluetooth in the vehicle.
For more information on this traffic safety law that will be strictly enforced, visit Drive Smart.