Northern Virginia

New VA Laws “Phone Down. It’s the Law”

Virginia's New Law - illegal to hold a phone while driving

Starting January 1, 2021, it is illegal to hold a phone while driving a moving motor vehicle on Virginia highways. (§ 46.2-818.2 – Use of handheld personal communications devices in certain motor vehicles; exceptions; penalty.)

Alternative Options

  • Drivers are allowed to use “hands-free” technology, such as Bluetooth or integrated systems within the vehicle.
  • If you choose to use headphones, VA law states you may only have one earbud in while driving
  • Use a cell phone mount
  • Use a cell phone while legally parked or stopped

“Texting is by far the most egregious form of distracted driving and increases your crash risk by 2300% because it involves all three kinds of distraction – manual, visual, and cognitive.”

Virginia Tech Transportation Institute

Violation Penalties

  • $125 for the first offense
  • $250 for the second and subsequent offenses

It will be illegal to do the following activities on your mobile device

  • Dial a number
  • Send a text
  • Browse social media
  • Video conference
  • Shop
  • Watch movies
  • Check the weather
  • Play games and so on


  • Reporting an emergency
  • Anyone operating an emergency vehicle while on duty
  • The use of an amateur or citizens band radio

For more information, please visit “Phone Down. It’s The Law” page

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