Search Site
Menu

Virginia Statute Now Makes Penalty Reflect The Crime

A new statute in VA aims to help protect pedestrians, cyclists, and other vulnerable road users. We want to make sure you are aware.

Virginia Code § 46.2-816.1, which took effect on July 1, 2020, allows prosecutors to bring more severe criminal charges when a distracted motor vehicle driver injures a vulnerable road user.  A vulnerable road user is defined as “a pedestrian, the operator of or passenger on a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, wheelchair or wheelchair conveyance, skateboard, roller skates, motorized skateboard or scooter, or animal-drawn vehicle or any attached device; or any person riding an animal.”

Vulnerable road users are at added risk of injury because they don’t benefit from the protection commonly found in cars, such as airbag deployment upon severe collisions. It is also challenging for vulnerable users to gauge how fast a vehicle is moving, if it’s slowing down or stopping, or if the driver is paying attention. Prior to the enactment of this statute, prosecutors were left with limited criminal options when a motor vehicle driver crashed into a vulnerable road user.

Unfortunately, at Curcio Law, we have had several cases where a motor vehicle colliding with a vulnerable user has led to severe or fatal injuries for the vulnerable user. Before this statute, prosecutors were left with the difficult decision to either charge the motor vehicle driver with a failure to yield or similar violation that has a small fine or not charge the driver at all because the minor penalty is an inappropriate consequence for the injuries that the driver caused.

This vulnerable user statute now allows prosecutors to charge distracted vehicle drivers with Class 1 misdemeanors when they injure vulnerable users. A Class 1 misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of 12 months in jail or a $2,500 fine.

The stricter penalties should start to deter drivers from making unsafe choices on the road and hold those at fault accountable. Hopefully, the combination of more significant fines and the hands-free law effective since January 1, 2021, will help lower vulnerable user accidents in Virginia.

At a time when pedestrian accidents have increased, Virginia’s new road rules are a combined effort to protect pedestrians and prevent accidents. We at Curcio Law have seen this statute being used more often to charge distracted drivers with a criminal violation that better reflects the severity of their crime. We hope that this statute will continue to highlight the dangers of distracted driving and will help save pedestrians, cyclists, and other vulnerable users’ lives across the Commonwealth.

OUR RESULTS
  • "$2,000,000.00 Auto Pedestrian Hit by Car / Brain Injury"

  • "$2,000,000.00 Pedestrian Hit By Bus / Broken Foot, Surgery Complications & Partial Choroidal Detachment"

  • "$2,000,000.00 Wrongful Death Settlement"

  • "$1,900,000.00 Pedestrian Hit By Truck / Fractured Pelvis & Multiple Surgeries"

  • "$1,500,000.00 Auto Accident / Wrongful Death"

  • "$1,200,000.00 Auto Accident / Broken Neck, Punctured Lung"

  • "$847,500.00 Dangerous Dog Bite / Facial Injury, Scarring"

  • "$600,000.00 Tractor Trailer Crash / Neck Injury, requiring surgery"

  • "$595,000.00 (Jury Verdict) Auto Accident / Broken Foot"

  • "$546,905.00 Auto Accident / Neck injury, Herniated Disc"

Meet Our Attorneys
Our Awards & Memberships
  • Three best rated
  • Best Personal injury lawyers in Alexandria
Client Reviews
  • google
    5.0/5.0

    I had a wonderful stress free experience with Curcio Law firm. Rankin Hammond walked me through the process step by step. I felt very comfortable with this firm handling my case. I highly recommend this law firm with your legal needs.

    Read more

    Cheryl Ryan

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    I sought the services of Curcio Law to assist me when my father was injured in an assisted living facility. I had tried to handle a settlement on my own but had run into so many headaches with all involved. With just a phone call and a quick meeting ...

    Read more

    Susan Walsh

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    Rakin represented me in an auto accident. Curcio Law helped me resolve my personal injury case and updated me throughout the process. I give my highest recommendation to Rakin, his staff, and Curcio Law.

    Read more

    Gizachw Amba

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    I recently worked with Justin Curcio on a car crash case. He was a wonderful. Our case was handled professionally, efficiently and most importantly resulted in a great financial result for us. I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a person...

    Read more

    marissa albano

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    Curcio Law is the only law firm that will be handling my personal injury cases. I felt like my case was in perfectly good hands. Fighting a personal injury case is not easy but Curcio law made it easy as 123.

    Read more

    Candace Starr

See all reviews
Contact us

Quick Contact Form