Virginia

Highway safety laws differ from state to state. The summary information here can be used to compare laws in specific categories. We monitor legislative changes and update this information as needed.

RESTRICTIONS ON CELLPHONE USE AND TEXTING
Hand-held ban no
Young drivers all cellphone ban drivers younger than 18
Texting ban all drivers
Enforcement primary; secondary for drivers younger than 18
MAXIMUM POSTED SPEED LIMITS
Rural interstates (mph) 70
Urban interstates (mph) 70
Other limited access roads (mph) 65
Other roads (mph) 55
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
To get a learners license you must:
Have a minimum age of 15, 6 months1
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Before getting a license or restricted license you must:
Have a mandatory holding period of 9 months1
Have a minimum supervised driving time of 45 hours, 15 of which must be at night
Have a minimum age of 16, 3 months2
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Restrictions during intermediate or restricted license stage:
Nighttime restrictions midnight-4 a.m. 1 secondary enforcement
Passenger restrictions

(family members excepted unless otherwise noted)
first 12 months—no more than 1 passenger younger than 21; thereafter, no more than 3 passengers younger than 21 secondary enforcement
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Minimum age at which restrictions may be lifted:
Nighttime restrictions until age 18 (min. age: 18)
Passenger restrictions until age 18 (min. age: 18)
REGULAR LICENSING RENEWAL CYCLE
Length of regular renewal cycle 8 years
OLDER DRIVER SPECIAL LICENSING PROVISIONS
Accelerated renewal 5 years for drivers 75 and older (effective 01/01/15)
Other provisions renewal applicants 75 and older must apply in person and pass department vision requirements or present a vision statement, no older than 90 days, from an optometrist or ophthalmologist (effective 01/01/15)
CHILD RESTRAINTS
Must be in child restraint 7 years and younger unless they have a physician exemption3
Adult safety belt permissible 8 through 17 years3
Maximum fine 1st offense $50
Seating preference children in rear-facing devices must be in a rear seat if available; if not available, they may be placed in front only if front passenger airbag is deactivated3
Children not covered all children covered
SAFETY BELT USE
Initial effective date 01/01/88
Standard enforcement? no
Who is covered? In what seats? 18+ years in front seat
Maximum fine 1st offense $25
Can nonuse decrease monetary awards for injuries in lawsuits? no
MOTORCYCLE HELMET USE
Motorcyclists covered all riders
BICYCLE HELMET USE
Covered by state law no law
PICKUP TRUCKS: RESTRICTIONS ON RIDING IN CARGO AREAS
Restrictions on riding in cargo areas yes
Gaps in coverage people 16 and older; farmers when crossing a highway to go from field to field
LOW-SPEED VEHICLES
On which roads are low-speed vehicles permitted? roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less
What is the top speed permissible for low-speed vehicles? 25 mph
AUTOMATED ENFORCEMENT: RED LIGHT CAMERAS
Statewide or only specified locations? counties, cities, and towns may operate cameras at no more than 1 intersection for every 10,000 residents; requires local ordinance; the exception is the Washington, DC metropolitan area, it permits up to 10 camera sites or 1 site per 10,000 residents, whichever is greater
Violations red light
Citations issued to whom? registered owner
Who is liable? driver
What image is taken? 2 photographs or other recorded images
Traditional enforcement penalty $200 maximum fine/4 points
Auto enforcement penalties/record $50 maximum fine; no court costs; not a criminal offense; no points; may not be used by insurers

1In Virginia, the night driving restriction and passenger restrictions apply to learner's permit holders.

2In Virginia, driver education is required for license applicants younger than 19 (18 if applicant holds a valid license from another state). Northern Virginia and nearby counties have implemented a 90-minute segment for parents of driver education students.

3In Virginia, children 4 — 7 years may use an adult belt only if any licensed physician determines that use of a child seat would be impractical because of the child's weight, physical fitness, or other medical reason. The person transporting the must carry the doctor's signed statement.