Phone Down It's The Law

About The Law

Pedal Down? Phone Down!

On January 1, 2021, it became illegal to hold a handheld personal communications device (e.g., your smartphone) while driving a moving motor vehicle on Virginia highways. This new law is one of many ways the state is buckling down on distracted driving.

What’s Off-Limits?

While driving, it will be illegal to hold a mobile device in your hand while doing some activities, such as:

  • Dial a phone number
  • Send a text message
  • Update/browse social media
  • Video conference
  • Shop online
  • Watch movies
  • Check the weather
  • Play games
  • And more.

What Happens If I’m Pulled Over?

In the event that you are pulled over for holding a handheld personal communications device, act in the same manner you would for any traffic stop. You will NOT be asked to hand the device over to the officer. Keep in mind that WHAT you are doing with the device is irrelevant, it is the act of HOLDING the device while driving that is illegal.

Breaking The Law Will Cost You!

A person who violates 46.2-818.2 is subject to a fine of $125 for the first offense and $250 for the second and subsequent offenses. A person who is convicted of reckless driving who was also in violation of 46.2-818.2 when committing the offense can be fined up to $2,500, up to 12 months in jail, and up to a six month license suspension, but shall be fined a mandatory minimum fine of $250. A person who violates this law while driving in a highway work zone shall be fined $250.

The Five Exceptions