Several states began the new fiscal year July 1 by banning texting and the usage of cell phones while driving. Vehicle drivers in Hawaii and West Virginia now have to put down hand-held devices, while drivers in South Dakota face similar laws, according to USA Today.
“Effective July 1, 2013, handheld cell phone use and text messaging while driving is banned for all drivers [in Hawaii]. Drivers under 18 are banned from all wireless device use,” AAA officials report.
In Virginia, texting behind the wheel becomes a primary offense.
“In April, Virginia lawmakers overwhelming passed HB 1907 making texting behind the wheel a primary traffic offense. The new law allows police officers to pull and cite drivers for texting behind the wheel without first having to witness them violating another law and those who are ticketed will also face steeper penalties,” AAA officials report.
“Fines for a first offense are $125 and $250 for a second or subsequent offense,” AAA officials add. “Drivers convicted of reckless driving who are also texting could face a $250 fine.”
For a full list of distracted driving laws by state, click here.
Jenna Reed is a contributing writer for USGNN.