Wherever you drive, it is important to know the driving laws of that particular state. While some laws are consistent throughout the country, others, like cell phone use and DUI laws, vary from state to state. Whether you are moving to Virginia or simply passing through, we’ve got the driving and traffic laws in Virginia you need to know about to drive safely through the Old Dominion State.
Cell Phone Use
The state of Virginia allows cell phone use while driving in some circumstance. Drivers over the age of 18 are able to use a cell phone legally as long as they are not composing any sort of text message or email in the process. The no texting law went into effect in July, 2009, and pertains to all drivers of vehicles, bicycles or mopeds. The law also states that anyone driving a school bus may not use a cell phone for any reason while transporting children. Drivers under the age of 18 are also not permitted to use cell phones. The minor law is a secondary one, meaning that a minor must be pulled over for another violation before getting ticketed for cell phone use.
The DUI penalties in Virginia are fairly stiff and comparable to the laws around the country in this area. First-time offenders face a hefty fine of at least $250 and a one-year suspension of their driver’s licenses. A drunk driving conviction with a person under the age of 17 in the vehicle will also result in a mandatory five days minimum in jail and additional fines. The state of Virginia also assesses larger penalties for those with a blood alcohol level of .15 or above .20, respectively. Second offenses mean and even larger fine, a three-year license suspension and up to one year in jail. Driving a car under the influence with a person under the age of 17 will also result in many mandatory hours of community service.
Another area of law that is unique to Virginia is the minimum requirement for insurance coverage. This state mandates liability coverage, with a minimum of $25,000 in bodily injury liability and $20,000 in property damage liability. The property damage liability is significantly more than many other states. In addition, this state requires drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage, in case they are involved in an accident with another driver who does not have current insurance. The minimum coverage is $25,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury and $20,000 uninsured motorist property damage.
Understanding the specific laws in the state you are driving in is essential to maintaining a clean driving record. If you are heading to the state of Virginia, these are just a few of the laws you must become familiar with.