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Virginia texting and driving convictions on the rise

Virginia residents may have noticed that texting while driving has been receiving more media attention of late. It appears such attention may be for good reason, as the number of convictions in Virginia has skyrocketed in recent years. Since 2013, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles indicates that the convictions for texting and driving have almost quadrupled.

In 2013 texting and driving became a primary offense, meaning that a police officer may stop a driver that he or she believes is texting and driving at the time the officer observes the driver. Previously, an officer could not stop a driver who the officer believed to be texting and driving unless the officer also observed another alleged offense. Furthermore, now that texting and driving is a primary offense means that it may constitute reckless driving if causes serious injury or even death to another driver or passenger.

In Fairfax County, the numbers are staggering. There were 56 convictions in 2012 and 276 convictions in 2015, which represents an increase of 393 percent. The statistics are no less frightening for 2013 and 2014, with 214 convictions and 341 convictions in those years, respectively. Fairfax County has more convictions than any other Virginia locality.

Texting and driving can pose serious hazards and increases the risk of car accidents, since distracted drivers are three times as likely to crash than those drivers that are focused on the task of driving, according to a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute Study.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver that was texting and driving, you may wish to seek legal counsel. This could help you file a civil action, helping the injured victim recover compensation for their losses and damages.

Source: rvanews.com, "Texting while driving convictions quadruple in Virginia," Rarione Maniece, Nov. 9, 2015

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