Wednesday, February 6, 2013
RICHMOND — Both houses of the General Assembly passed legislation Tuesday to strengthen enforcement and increase penalties for texting while driving.
The identical bills would allow police to stop drivers for using a “handheld personal communications device” to send or view text messages and emails. Virginia’s law currently treats texting while driving as a secondary offense, meaning police must have cause to stop a driver for a separate offense before issuing a citation for texting.
Drivers found guilty of the offense would face a $250 fine for a first offense and $500 fines for subsequent offenses. The legislation also would impose a $500 mandatory minimum fine for someone convicted of reckless driving that occurs while a driver is texting.