New Driving Laws for Virginia to be in Effect July 1

Jun 28

As distracted driving and the amount of DWI (driving while intoxicated) convictions have risen, so has Virginia’s concern for its residents. With more than 42,000 crashes on their roadways and 325 fatalities in their state this year alone, the State of Virginia is taking matters into its own hands and adding a few new driving laws that will take effect July 1st. Here are three driving laws the Virginia General Assembly passed that may affect how you drive before the holiday weekend:

DWI/DUI Convictions (Virginia Code Section 18.2-270): Prior to this new law change, being convicted of a DWI is not a felony unless it is your third offense within a 10 year period. However, starting July 1st, if you are convicted of a DWI, you will receive a felony if you have any of the following previous convictions:

  • DWI maiming
  • Involuntary manslaughter alcohol
  • Involuntary manslaughter alcohol boating
  • DWI third offense or subsequent
  • Boating while intoxicated maiming

When found guilty of this crime, you will be required to pay a minimum of $1,000 and a minimum of one year’s time in prison.

Texting While Driving (Virginia Code Section 46.2-1078): As many know and I have stated in previous posts, distracted driving has become quite the epidemic. Just in Virginia, more than 20% of all crashes in 2012 were due to drivers who were distracted with about 1,700 of those motorists preoccupied with their cellular devices. This new law will make texting while driving a primary offense instead of a secondary offense, as it is right now. No matter how old you are, you will be accountable for your actions.

This conviction will cost you $125 if it is your first offense, but if you receive a second or subsequent offense, you will be paying $250.

Expanded Provisional Driver’s License Use (Virginia Code Section 46.2-334.01): If you are a teen under 18 years of age, this new law might just put a smile on your face. This law will allow you, if you are the holder of a provisional driver’s license, to drive between midnight and 4:00 am if coming from a supervised activity by an adult sponsored by a civic, religious, or public organization. This will add on to the already existing law allowing you to drive between these hours if coming from a place of employment of a sponsored school activity.

Remember to drive safe during your Fourth of July celebrations throughout the week and weekend. Not only are certain actions considered illegal, such as a DWI, they are also highly dangerous. If you are a teen driver and are now able to drive between the late night hours under those restrictions, remember to always be alert and drive defensively!

For violators of these laws and other traffic offenses that are required to complete a driver improvement program, visit Virginia Online Driver Improvement for more information.

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