The House and Senate both voted last week to make driving while texting a primary offense with increased fines. The House bill, HB 1907 passed 94-4 Tuesday while the Senate Bill 1222 passed the Senate 24-15 also on Tuesday.
Currently, drivers may not be pulled over only for texting while driving. They could be penalized if they were pulled over for another offense and a first offense only carries a $20 fine for a first offense and a $50 fine for a subsequent offense.
With the new legislation officers would be allowed to pull a driver over who was seen texting while driving, even if they were not committing another offense. Fines would also be increased to $250 for a first offense and $500 for a subsequent offense. Additionally, anyone found guilty of texting while driving in addition to reckless driving will automatically face a minimum fine of $500.
These were not the first attempts at passing legislation to ban texting while driving in Virginia. All past attempts to pass new measures have previously failed in this and past legislative sessions.
Now the House will consider Senate Bill 1222 and the Senate will consider House Bill 1907.
According to the National Safety Ad Council, a texting driver is 23 times more likely to get into a crash than a non-texting driver and an estimated one million people chat and text while driving daily. The average text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for nearly five seconds. When driving at 55 mph, a driver will drive the length of a football field.
If you are facing any criminal charges for reckless driving, driving under the influence or any type of driving offenses, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney. Call today for your free, confidential consultation.