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How Virginia’s New Motor Vehicle Laws Affect Drivers

New laws adopted in Virginia in 2019 have made important changes to statutes governing a range of areas, from adoption surrogacy and tobacco sales to driving privileges and vehicle safety. Though not every one might touch your everyday life, failing to understand the new standards could lead to a fine or other legal problems.

Three of the laws that took effect on July 1 directly impact Virginia drivers, addressing the following issues:

  • Cell phone use while driving in construction zones — While motorists may be aware of the dangers associated with cell phone use behind the wheel, this risky behavior persists. Using a hand-held device can be particularly hazardous while operating a vehicle in a work zone. To help protect construction workers and others, drivers caught using a hand-held cell phone in one of these zones will face a mandatory $250 fine.
  • Rear-facing child car seats — Consistent with the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and federal regulators, Virginia children now must sit in rear-facing car seats until they reach the age of two or until they meet the manufacturer’s suggested minimum weight for use of a front-facing seat.
  • Driver’s license suspensions and reinstatements — For years, Virginia residents have lost their driving privileges because of unpaid court fines and costs. As of July 1, licenses will no longer be suspended because of court debt. Moreover, licenses that were suspended under the old rule will be reinstated. This change will restore driving privileges to more than 627,000 Virginians.

Taken together, these recently enacted Code sections recognize the importance of driving privileges for many Virginians while attempting to minimize the frequency and severity of auto accidents.

Though legislators, safety advocates and manufacturers continue to seek ways to make driving safer, harmful vehicle collisions will never be fully eliminated from the state’s roads. When you or someone you love has been injured in a car crash, finding the right lawyer gives you the best chance to obtain the financial recovery you deserve. Please call Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban at (888) 351-1038 or contact us online for a free initial consultation. We have offices throughout Virginia and in the Carolinas.

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