Not Many Texting While Driving Tickets

Last year Virginia law was changed to make texting while driving a primary offense, which means an officer can pull you over solely because thinks you’re texting.

But are tickets being written for texting?

Not really.

According to the Free Lance-Star, a total of 109 people were charged with texting while driving last year in the Fredericksburg / Spotsylvania / Stafford area. Compared with the number of speeding and reckless driving tickets handled in those courts, texting is barely a drop in the bucket.

I suspect there are two big reasons why we don’t see more texting tickets:

1. Texting is hard to prove.

The law specifically exempts calling someone with a cell phone, and it’s pretty difficult for an officer to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was actually texting.

The texting tickets that I’ve seen have been where someone admitted that they were texting or where the officer could testify that he actually saw the texting app being used. Those scenarios are pretty rare.

2. Officers issue other tickets instead.

For some cases, texting while driving isn’t the only possible violation for an officer to write. If there’s an accident, the officer might just charge reckless driving. That gives them a broader target to hit with their evidence.

In Stafford and Fredericksburg, the local police can also charge texting violations under “failure to pay full time and attention.” Even if the officer can’t testify that the driver was for sure texting, any use of a cell phone while driving is arguably failing to pay full attention to driving.

We all see folks using their phones while driving, so we know violations exist. It will be interesting to see if more of these texting tickets come up as the months go by.

If you’re charged with texting while driving, contact me today so we can discuss your case.

Photo by:John.Karakatsanis

Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then, I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.

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