Distracted Driving Legislation

Please help save lives by supporting a Hand-held phone ban. #HandsFreeVA

Fatalities in Virginia have increased each year since 2013. What’s to blame? Driver distraction.

  • 15 states and the District of Columbia now ban the use of handheld devices while driving. In 2017, there was a 1.8% decrease in traffic fatalities in the United States. (NHTSA)
  • Virginia, which has not banned the use of handheld devices while driving, saw a 10.8% increase in traffic fatalities in 2017 compared to 2016. (Virginia DMV TREDS)
  • 13 states saw an average 16% decrease in traffic fatalities within 2 years of passing a handheld device ban. (NHTSA)

We have VERY STRONG laws on the books for driving under the influence of alcohol. We need to address driver distraction – which is another form of impaired driving – in the same manner.

  • In 2017, there were 248 alcohol-related traffic fatalities in Virginia (a decrease of 5.3% compared to 2016). In that same period, there were 208 distraction-related traffic fatalities – an 18.1% increase compared to 2016. (Virginia DMV TREDS)
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has identified distracted driving as “a crisis that needs to be addressed now.”
  • 80% of all crashes and 65% of all near crashes involve driver inattention within 3 seconds of the crash. (Virginia Tech)
  • Texting (in essence manipulating a phone) while driving increases your crash risk by 2300%, because it involves all THREE kinds of distraction – manual, visual and cognitive. It is by far the most egregious form of distracted driving.
  • Motorists with smart phones use hand-held devices in 88 out of every 100 trips. Therefore, Zendrive estimates that there are about 600 million trips involving distracted driving in the US every day. (Zendrive)

2018 Virginia Traffic Crash statistics are preliminary and are not included here.

Support HB 1811 & SB 1341

When passed, this bill will prohibit using a handheld personal communications device while driving unless the device is specifically designed to allow hands-free and voice operation and the device is being used in that manner.  Read the Bill

Join the Virginia Coalition for Safe Driving

See a List of DRIVE SMART #HandsFreeVA Coalition Members

The Coalition raises awareness about the importance of safe driving, including distraction-free driving; sharing the road; fleet safety; vulnerable road users; and sober driving through various strategies in order to prevent crashes and injuries on Virginia roadways.  See the list of member organizations and join the Coalition.

Contact Your Legislator

Call and email your state legislators.  Tell them you are a constituent and you support HB 1811.  Not sure who your legislators are?  No problem.  Here’s the General Assembly link Who’s My Legislator.