Lawmakers in Virginia are expected to vote on a bill that would fine motorists if they are distracted by their phones while driving.
The bill stops short of implementing an outright ban on using a cell phone while behind the wheel. Rather, the bill’s language would authorize a fine if a driver uses a phone in a way that “substantially diverts” their attention. If caught, they would be cited for “improper” driving, which is punishable by a fine of up to $500.
House Bill 181 has the support of law enforcement officials and Drive Smart Virginia, a non-profit group dedicated to improving driver safety. The bill was approved last week by the House Courts of Justice Committee and is awaiting a hearing before the full house.
Texting while driving is already illegal in Virginia, and it is illegal for anyone under 18 use a device in any way while behind the wheel. But HB181 stops short of laws in other states that further restrict the use of devices while driving. In Maryland and the District of Columbia, it is illegal to use a handheld device while driving at all.
Do you support HB181? Do you think Virginia should implement a full ban on handheld devices while driving?