Virginia To Crack Down On Texting While Driving | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Virginia To Crack Down On Texting While Driving

Play associated audio
Texting while driving may soon yield drivers a $250 fine for a first offense.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/indyplanets/3926147797/
Texting while driving may soon yield drivers a $250 fine for a first offense.

Virginia lawmakers voted to crack down on drivers texting while behind the wheel, but Gov. Bob McDonnell has some concerns before he signs off on the bill.

For years, lawmakers have tried to make it a primary offense to use a mobile phone while driving. They were blocked by others, who argued that reckless driving laws can cover infractions, as well as by those who did not want police to peer into cars and invade privacy.

Dele. Rich Anderson, the bill's sponsor, says the dangers posed by drivers who are texting are too great to leave the problem unaddressed.

"Because of the impaired driving that results from texting, it has the same effect as if you're severely intoxicated well beyond the legal range of intoxication," Anderson says. "So therefore it does, in fact, affect other people, up to and including death. And so for that reason, we needed to address it."

Under the bill passed this legislative session, police can pull over and charge a driver who is seen texting.  Anderson says it imposes a $250 fine for a first offense, and $500 for subsequent ones. This stands in contrast to existing law, where motorists can be fined $20 if an officer observes a driver texting while pulling him over for another reason.

McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the governor still has reservations.

"The governor will review this legislation when we receive it. However, he does continue to have concerns about beginning to list more specific activities that are prohibited while driving."

The bill also makes it unlawful to read emails and text messages or to manually enter multiple letters or text. That means no e-mailing, tweeting, or posting on Facebook, either.

NPR

Scott Simon: 'We Don't Fully Grow Up' Until We Lose Our Parents

"There are some lessons that only grief and responsibility can teach us," says Weekend Edition host Scott Simon. His new memoir, Unforgettable, is about the life and death of his mother.
NPR

The Revival Of Lamb Ham: A Colonial Tradition Renewed

British colonialists brought lamb ham to America, where a sugar-cured, smoked variety became popular. Easier-to-cure pork ham eventually took its place, but now two Virginians are bringing it back.
WAMU 88.5

Streetcar, 'Accountability' Among Key Points Of Bowser Address

D.C.'s new mayor said the H Street streetcar would survive and that "accountability" — from police, politicians and other officials — would be a defining aspect of her administration.

WAMU 88.5

Uber Tweaks Airport Pickups To Create 'Virtual Queue'

Faced with rules that prevent its drivers from hanging out on airport property waiting for rides, Uber is tweaking its system for ride-hailing pick-ups at Reagan National and Dulles International airports.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.