Virginia considering tougher laws on texting while driving
Texting while driving has been illegal in the state of Virginia since 2009, although the bill made it a secondary enforcement ban. Three years later, Virginia lawmakers are looking to improve the texting ban by making it a primary enforcement law.
The Senate Transportation Committee recently approved two bills that could make texting while driving a primary infraction. Senate Bill 219, sponsored by Sen. George L. Barker, would amend the current legislation to make it a primary enforcement law. Violating the law would still result into a $20 fine for a first time offense, and $50 for subsequent offenses. Meanwhile, Senate Bill 210 would make texting while driving or using a cell phone a primary enforcement infraction for drivers with a provisional license.
For AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Martha Meade, making the current laws more severe is a necessity,
“No message is worth a life. They can all wait,” said Meade. “We know that distracting driving is an enormous problem, eclipsing even drunk driving in the minds of people in Virginia.”
While similar bills were rejected by the House during the 2011 Legislative session, Sen. Baker reflected how people’s opinion have changed in the past year.
“People are very concerned,” said Sen. Barker. ”They’re beginning to understand the risk to them.”
Both legislations are now headed to the Senate.
Source: Richmond Times Dispatch, January 19, 2012; WTVR CBS 6, January 19, 2012