Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 46.2. Motor Vehicles
Chapter 3. Licensure of Drivers

§ 46.2-341.20:5. Prohibition on texting and use of handheld mobile telephone; penalties.

A. No person driving a commercial motor vehicle shall text or use a handheld mobile telephone while driving such vehicle. A driver who violates this section is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $2,750. Civil penalties collected under this section shall be deposited into the Highway Maintenance and Operating Fund established pursuant to § 33.2-1530. Pursuant to 49 C.F.R. § 386.81, the determination of the actual civil penalties assessed is based on consideration of information available at the time the claim is made concerning the nature and gravity of the violation and, with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, history of prior offenses, ability to pay, effect on ability to continue to do business, and such other matters as justice and public safety may require.

B. Notwithstanding the definition of commercial motor vehicle in § 46.2-341.4, this section shall apply to any driver who drives a vehicle designed or used to transport between nine and 15 passengers, including the driver, not for direct compensation.

C. The provisions of this section shall not apply to drivers who are texting or using a handheld mobile telephone when necessary to communicate with law-enforcement officials or other emergency services.

D. The following words and phrases when used in this section only shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them in this section except in those instances where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

"Driving" means operating a commercial motor vehicle on a highway, including while temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays. Driving does not include operating a commercial motor vehicle when the driver has moved the vehicle to the side of or off a highway and has halted in a location where the vehicle can safely remain stationary.

"Mobile telephone" means a mobile communication device that falls under or uses any commercial mobile radio service, as defined in regulations of the Federal Communications Commission, 47 C.F.R. § 20.3. "Mobile telephone" does not include two-way or citizens band radio services.

"Texting" means manually entering alphanumeric text into, or reading text from, an electronic device. This action includes, but is not limited to, short message service, emailing, instant messaging, a command or request to access a website, pressing more than a single button to initiate or terminate a voice communication using a mobile telephone, or engaging in any other form of electronic text retrieval or entry for present or future communication. "Texting" does not include inputting, selecting, or reading information on a global positioning system or navigation system; pressing a single button to initiate or terminate a voice communication using a telephone; or using a device capable of performing multiple functions (e.g., fleet management systems, dispatching devices, smartphones, citizens band radios, music players, etc.) for a purpose that is not otherwise prohibited in this section.

"Use a handheld mobile telephone" means using at least one hand to hold a mobile telephone to conduct a voice communication; dialing or answering a mobile telephone by pressing more than a single button; or reaching for a mobile telephone in a manner that requires a driver to maneuver so that he is no longer in a seated driving position, restrained by a seat belt that is installed in accordance with 49 C.F.R. § 393.93 and adjusted in accordance with the vehicle manufacturer's instructions.

2013, cc. 165, 582; 2014, cc. 77, 803; 2020, cc. 1230, 1275.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.