Virginia Panels Advance Distracted Driver Penalties

RICHMOND, Va. — Legislation that would crack down on people who try to text while driving seems to be on the fast track to becoming law.

House and Senate Courts committees Friday reported the measures for action by their respective chambers.

They change distracted driving such as using smart phones to text, troll the Web or check Facebook to a primary offense, allowing police to stop and ticket offenders. It’s a secondary offense now, meaning people can only be cited if they’re stopped for another offense such as speeding.

The House and Senate both passed versions of the bill earlier this month.

The Senate Courts Committee reported the House bill on a 9-6 vote. The House Courts Committee reported the Senate version on 15-1 vote for action, with one abstention.

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