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Checking in 6 months after hands-free law in effect for Virginia

Nearly 2,000 drivers have been convicted of breaking the law

Drivers are still holding their phones while driving
Drivers are still holding their phones while driving

LYNCHBURG, Va. – When you’re driving and get a text or call, it may be tempting to hold your phone.

It’s illegal, but apparently, drivers are still doing it.

“It’s not safe at all. It’s scary … The law hasn’t been enforced because it’s, like, still the same,” said one driver in Lynchburg.

“I’ll [see someone holding their phone and] just be, ‘I wish they would pull over,” said another Lynchburg driver.

Virginia’s hands-free law went into effect last July but enforcing it was pushed back to January 1st.

Officer Mike Bauserman of the Lynchburg Police Traffic Safety Unit says it’s simple — you can’t hold your phone while driving.

“Holding it in your hand, up to your ear, texting or anything, while you’re operating a motor vehicle,” said Bauserman.

The exception to the law is when you come to, what’s concerned, a “legal stop,” like a red light. You can pick up the phone, but you must put it down and be ready to drive by the time the light turns green.

Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles says since January 1st, there have been 1,907 convictions for violating the hands-free law.

State police say they’ve issued more than 742 violations.

And on a local level, Lynchburg police have handed out 46 citations.

“I still see people, basically every day, on their phones, driving down the road,” said Bauserman.

He says he’s trying his best to enforce it.

“You don’t have time to stop everybody. Unfortunately, it’s just like speeding. We can’t stop everybody.”

He suggests you do your part on the road by putting your phone on speaker or connecting it to a Bluetooth device.


About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.