The Tappahannock Police Department wishes to remind motorists that beginning January 1, 2021 it will be illegal to hold a handheld personal communications device (e.g., your smartphone) while driving a moving motor vehicle on Virginia highways. This new law is one of many ways the state is buckling down on distracted driving.

While driving, it will be illegal to hold a mobile device in your hand while doing activities. “This new law goes further than the original no texting while driving statute that the General Assembly passed a few years ago and many other states are taking or already have taken similar steps to discourage distracted driving,” said Captain J.H. Siddons.

A person who violates the new law, section 46.2-818.2 of the Code of Virginia, is subject to a fine of $125 for the first offense and $250 for the second and subsequent offenses. A violator who is convicted of reckless driving who was also in violation of 46.2-818.2 when committing the offense can be fined up to $2,500, up to 12 months in jail, and up to a six-month license suspension, but shall be fined a mandatory minimum fine of $250. Violations of this law while driving in a highway work zone shall be punished by a fine of $250. This new law was championed by Christina Dempsey and Drive Smart Virginia. Ms. Dempsey devastatingly lost her sister and niece in a motor vehicle crash where a distracted driver, of a long flatbed delivery truck with a forklift attached, struck her sister’s vehicle while it was stopped in traffic. Please do your part to help make the roads of Tappahannock and all of Virginia safer.