In case readers have forgotten, local news sources on Tuesday want to remind us that it is against state law to text while driving on Virginia's highways. Ask the more than 325 motorists who have received tickets since the law went into affect on July 1 this year.
Virginia State Police Superintendent Colonel W. Steven Flaherty wrote in a statement: "Keep in mind that this data does not provide an exact account of the problem that exists concerning texting while driving on Virginia’s highways.”
This means that drivers cited for reckless driving could have been cited for texting, but this may not have been done because of the overriding offense. Flaherty went on to say, "Regardless, texting while driving puts at risk the driver, passengers and every other motorist, motorcyclist, pedestrian and bicyclist sharing the roadway with that inattentive driver.”
Under the law, a trooper can stop a driver for texting just as he can stop a driver for reckless driving or speeding. The officer must see the driver actually in the act of texting while the vehicle is moving. A driver stopped at a stop light in the act of texting cannot be cited, because the vehicle is stopped.
This is something people should keep in mind because it's a good reason to pull over if you just have to respond to someone who has sent you a text message. Better yet, turn your mobile phone off when you get in the car and avoid the temptation to answer a call or text.
One other reason to refrain from texting while driving is this: A first offense will cost you $125, while a second and subsequent offenses will hit you for $250. That is money most people don't have to throw around, so think before you decide to text.