Effective July 1, 2009, a new law in Virginia prohibits the use of handheld personal communications devices while operating a moving motor vehicle, with a few exceptions.
The law states that it is unlawful for any person to operate a moving motor vehicle on the highways in the Commonwealth of Virginia while using any handheld personal communications device to
1) Manually enter multiple letters or text in the device as a means of communicating with another person
2) Read any email or text message transmitted to the device or stored within the device. This prohibition does NOT apply to names or numbers stored in the device nor to caller identification information.
The law does NOT apply to the operator of any emergency vehicle; an operator who is lawfully parked or stopped; the use of factory-installed or aftermarket global positioning systems (GPS) or wireless communications devices used to transmit or receive data as part of a digital dispatch system; or any person using a handheld personal communications device to report an emergency.
A citation for a violation of law will only be issued when the officer issuing the citation has a cause to stop or arrest the driver of the motor vehicle for the violation of some other provision of this Code or local ordinance relating to the operation, ownership, or maintenance of a motor vehicle or any criminal statute.
Details of the bill HB 1876
SOURCE: State of Virginia Legislature, DAAR
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