RICHMOND, Va.— A Virginia Senate committee has endorsed legislation to toughen penalties for texting while driving.
Texting while driving is already punishable by a $20 fine, but it’s a secondary offense. That means police can only write a ticket if they stop the motorist for another violation.
The Senate Courts of Justice Committee voted 9-6 Monday to approve a bill that would increase the fine to $250 and make it a primary offense. That would allow police to stop and ticket anyone they spot texting behind the wheel. The fine for a second offense would be $500. If a motorist is charged with reckless driving as a result of texting, there would be a mandatory minimum $500 fine.
The bill is identical to one approved by a House of Delegates committee.
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