UPDATED: Virginia Senate passes bills to crack down on texting while driving
The Virginia Senate has passed two measures in an attempt to crack down on cell phone use in the car.
One bill would make texting while driving a primary driving violation for which a driver can be pulled over by police. A separate measure would make using a cell phone while driving a primary driving offense for provisional license holders--teenagers with restricted licenses.
It is already illegal to text and drive in Virginia, but police can only ticket drivers for violating the law as a secondary offense, if they have pulled a driver over for violating a different traffic law. The Senate adopted the bill to make texting a primary offense on a 28 to 11 vote.
Likewise, it is already illegal for teens to use their cell phones in the car but they can only be ticketed for violating the law if pulled over for another reason. The Senate passed a bill to make cell phone use a primary offense for teenage drivers passed 33 to 7.
The bills will now be considered by the House of Delegates, which has typically killed such measures in the past.
UPDATE 4 p.m.: On a vote of 26 to 13, the senate has passed a third measure that would make it illegal to answer or initiate a cell phone call while driving without using a hands-free device. The bill--similar to proposals killed in previous years in the House--would allow police to pull drivers over for violating the law.
Rosalind S. Helderman
| February 8, 2011; 12:27 PM ET
Categories: General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate
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