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*|
|Colonial Heights City||2|
|Isle of Wight County||1|
|King and Queen County||1|
|King George County||3|
|New Kent County||5|
|Newport News City||12|
|Prince William County||62|
|Prince George County||1|
|Virginia Beach City||71|
|* Preliminary Data|