Texting and driving, is it enforceable? - WFLA News Channel 8

Texting and driving, is it enforceable?

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BRISTOL, VA (WJHL) -

Texting and driving became a primary offense on July 1, and now Virginia Police are doing more than just enforcing.

Bristol, Virginia Patrolman Matt Quillen tells a woman who was pulled over for texting behind that wheel, "get awareness out here that texting is illegal."

Break the law, and you could be fined $125, but in the new Virginia code lawmakers have several provisions.

"Only applies to text and e-mails. It doesn't prohibit from someone making a phone call," said Quillen.

It doesn't stop a person from texting while they're stopped, or reporting an emergency either.

So for officers like Quillen deciding whether or not a driver was really texting can get complicated. Quillen tells News Channel 11, "potential rules of evidence and search and seizure issues out there for us."

But it doesn't stop Quillen. He said there are several clues to find a texting driver, "the head will be down, they won't have their eyes on the road at all."

And that's exactly what a Tennessee driver was doing Saturday afternoon. Quillen told the driver, "it appeared that you were texting while driving. Is that what you were doing? Were you texting and driving?"

She admitted to texting behind the wheel, but said she was unaware of the new law, and was not given a ticket.

Quillen said he's not aware that anyone in his department has written a citation for texting behind the wheel since the law became a primary offense.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said in his opinion, texting and driving is a separate issue from being a reckless driver. He said using a cell phone would be insufficient, standing alone, to support a conviction of reckless driving.

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