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Texting-while-driving convictions high in Northern Virginia

Wednesday - 1/29/2014, 6:45am  ET

textingconvictions400.jpg
This chart shows skyrocketing convictions for texting while driving in Fairfax County, Va. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenebck)

If you know it's against the law and unsafe, why are you still texting while you drive? Post a comment in this story, comment on WTOP's Facebook Page or use #WTOP on Twitter.

WASHINGTON - The first six months of Virginia's law that gets tough on texting while driving reveal a clear trend: Drivers in Northern Virginia are the most likely to be convicted.

While total convictions - just 725 from July 1 to Dec. 31, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles - are limited, more than 40 percent were in Northern Virginia.

With 168 convictions, Fairfax County had far and away the most convictions for texting and driving, almost a quarter of the total.

"I think it's mainly because there are so many professionals here who have to work and drive and sit in traffic, so they're trying to do too many things at one time, and they're getting caught," says David Deane, a traffic lawyer based in Arlington.

Prince William and Arlington counties follow Fairfax in having the most convictions.

Under the new law, texting and driving is a primary offense, meaning police can pull over a driver without observing another infraction.

Some still see the law as having a loophole because drivers can dial and use the GPS functions on their phones. Accordingly, an officer may struggle to determine what a driver is actually doing with his phone.

WWBT in Richmond reports 54,126 reckless driving convictions in 2012, a figure that dwarfs those convicted of texting and driving.

Texting While Driving Convictions  
July 1, 2013 - December 31, 2013* 
  
JurisdictionConvictions
Accomack County3
Alexandria City6
Albemarle County6
Amherst County2
Augusta County2
Arlington County41
Buckingham County1
Bedford County2
Bristol City3
Botetourt County6
Chesapeake City18
Cumberland County2
Chesterfield County23
Campbell County10
Colonial Heights City2
Caroline County2
Charlottesville City3
Carroll County3
Culpeper County3
Ckarke County2
Dinwiddie County1
Danville City1
Dickerson County1
Emporia City1
Essex County1
Fairfax City4
Fairfax County168
Federick County8
Fauquier County4
Fluvanna County1
Fredericksburg City8
Goochland County1
Giles County1
Gloucester County5
Halifax County2
Henrico County16
Hampton City16
Hanover County12
Isle of Wight County1
King and Queen County1
King George County3
Louisa County6
Loudoun County24
Lunenburg County1
Lynchburg City5
Montgomery County5
Mecklenburg County1
New Kent County5
Newport News City12
Norfolk City21
Nelson County1
Northampton County1
Nottoway County1
Orange County1
Page County2
Prince William County62
Patrick County1
Pittsylvania County4
Prince George County1
Pulaski County5
Powhatan County3
Petersburg City2
Rockingham County5
Richmond City15
Roanoke City17
Roanoke County12
Radford City1
Salem City1
Shenandoah County1
Suffolk City2
Stafford County5
Staunton City1
Smyth County2
Tazewell County2
Virginia Beach City71
Wise County2
Warren County6
Winchester City5
Wythe County5
Washington County3
Williamsburg City3
York County6
Total725
  
  
* Preliminary Data

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