Texting-while-driving convictions high in Northern Virginia

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

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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*  
   
Jurisdiction Convictions
Accomack County 3
Alexandria City 6
Albemarle County 6
Amherst County 2
Augusta County 2
Arlington County 41
Buckingham County 1
Bedford County 2
Bristol City 3
Botetourt County 6
Chesapeake City 18
Cumberland County 2
Chesterfield County 23
Campbell County 10
Colonial Heights City 2
Caroline County 2
Charlottesville City 3
Carroll County 3
Culpeper County 3
Ckarke County 2
Dinwiddie County 1
Danville City 1
Dickerson County 1
Emporia City 1
Essex County 1
Fairfax City 4
Fairfax County 168
Federick County 8
Fauquier County 4
Fluvanna County 1
Fredericksburg City 8
Goochland County 1
Giles County 1
Gloucester County 5
Halifax County 2
Henrico County 16
Hampton City 16
Hanover County 12
Isle of Wight County 1
King and Queen County 1
King George County 3
Louisa County 6
Loudoun County 24
Lunenburg County 1
Lynchburg City 5
Montgomery County 5
Mecklenburg County 1
New Kent County 5
Newport News City 12
Norfolk City 21
Nelson County 1
Northampton County 1
Nottoway County 1
Orange County 1
Page County 2
Prince William County 62
Patrick County 1
Pittsylvania County 4
Prince George County 1
Pulaski County 5
Powhatan County 3
Petersburg City 2
Rockingham County 5
Richmond City 15
Roanoke City 17
Roanoke County 12
Radford City 1
Salem City 1
Shenandoah County 1
Suffolk City 2
Stafford County 5
Staunton City 1
Smyth County 2
Tazewell County 2
Virginia Beach City 71
Wise County 2
Warren County 6
Winchester City 5
Wythe County 5
Washington County 3
Williamsburg City 3
York County 6
Total 725
   
   
* Preliminary Data

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