nvdaily.com link to home page

Traffic | Weather | Mobile Edition
      Archives | Subscribe | Special Sections

Local News arrow Courts & Legal News arrow Joe Beck arrow Traffic & Transportation

| 0

Few area convictions for texting while driving in 2013

By Joe Beck

The state's new ban on texting while driving produced only a handful a convictions among Northern Shenandoah Valley drivers in the first six months after it took effect.

Preliminary numbers compiled by the state Department of Motor Vehicles show a total of 20 convictions in Frederick, Warren and Shenandoah counties and Winchester from July 1 through Dec. 31. The data show a total of 725 convictions statewide during the same period.

The numbers for each jurisdiction ranged from a high of eight in Frederick County to six in Warren County, five in Winchester and one in Shenandoah County.

Fairfax County, the state's most heavily populated, recorded the highest number of convictions with 168, followed by Virginia Beach with 71. The number of convictions was heavily concentrated in Fairfax and neighboring Prince William, Arlington and Loudon counties.

But the correlation between convictions and the number of people and cars in specific jurisdictions wasn't perfect. Roanoke had 17 convictions, two more than the much larger city of Richmond.

Anna Hammond, assistant commonwealth's attorney in Warren County, said she had seen few police citations for texting while driving come across her desk.

"We prosecute the cases we get," Hammond said, adding that she had no explanation for the disparity in conviction numbers between the Northern Virginia suburbs and the rest of the state.

Drivers convicted for a first offense are subject to a $125 fine and $250 for subsequent convictions.

The passage of texting-while-driving in 2013 made it a primary offense, which means police can stop drivers for the sole reason of texting. Under the previous law, police could only issue a citation if they stopped a driver for another offense. The old law carried a fine of only $20.

Martha M. Meade, a spokeswoman for AAA in Virginia, said her organization is a stronger backer of the law as a way of deterring drivers from taking their eyes off the road. She cited a 2009 Virginia Tech study showing drivers are 23 times more likely to be in a crash while texting.

Meade said she was heartened by a recent poll conducted by AAA that showed 24 percent of those surveyed had stopped texting or are doing so far less as a result of the law's passage.

"From our perspective, that is good news," Meade said, "because it means that since the law became a primary enforcement law, it's making some people change their behavior."

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com

Keep up to date on local news

Sign up here to receive Northern Virginia Daily news delivered to your email box each morning and when breaking news occurs.


Comments that are posted represent the opinion of the commenter and not the Northern Virginia Daily/nvdaily.com. View our comments/submisssions policy. Report abuse by clicking the X next to the comment.

Local News Sections

Affordable Care Act Agency on Aging Agriculture Alex Bridges Apple Blossom Festival Aviation Basye Berryville Boyce Breaking News Business Charities Civil War Clarification Clarke County Colleges Corrections Courthouse Notes: Permits, Transactions Courts & Legal News Crime & Public Safety Economy and Jobs Edinburg Education Edward N. Bell Election 2012 Election 2013 Entertainment Environment Fairs & Festivals Fire & Rescue Fishers Hill Fort Valley Frederick County Front Royal George Washington National Forest Guest Column Hard Times Health History Holidays Homes In The Spotlight Jeff Nations Joe Beck Josette Keelor Katie Demeria Kim Walter Ledger Livestock Local Markets Maurertown Media Middletown Military & Veterans Moms Mount Jackson New Market Page County Pets & Animals Politics Progress 2013 Quicksburg Religion Rockingham County RSW Jail Ryan Cornell School News Shenandoah County Shenandoah Farms Volunteer Fire Department Star Tannery State Stephens City Steven A. Boyce Strasburg Toms Brook Traffic & Transportation Utilities Valley 911 Warren County Weather West Virginia Winchester Woodstock Year in Review

News | Sports | Business | Lifestyle | Obituaries | Opinion | Multimedia| Entertainment | Classifieds
Contact Us | NIE | Place a Classified | Privacy Policy | Comments/Submissions Policy | Subscribe

Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily | nvdaily.com | 152 N. Holliday St., Strasburg, Va. 22657 | (800) 296-5137

2013 Virginia Press Association Sweepstakes Winner
The Best Small Daily Newspaper in Virginia!

nvdaily.com | seeshenandoah.com