More than 500 drivers have received citations in the first six months since the texting-while-driving ban became a primary offense in Virginia, according to Virginia State Police.
From July 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013, troopers stopped and charged 567 drivers for texting while driving.
Texting while driving is punishable by $125 for the first offense, and for subsequent offenses the fine is raised to $250.
The law applies to the driver of a vehicle in motion. Law enforcement and other first responders are exempt.
The trooper has to see the driver texting while the car is moving before pulling the violator over to cite him/her.
Troopers can warn, summons, or arrest the violator.
An additional law makes it illegal for drivers of commercial vehicles or vehicles used to transport between nine and 15 passengers to text while driving.
The law does allow ”texting when necessary to communicate with law enforcement or other emergency services,” according to a news release.