Sunday, April 14, 2013
"No officer, I was just typing directions into my GPS…"
Texting while driving is dangerous, but some people do it anyway. This year, Virginia's General Assembly passed a measure that increased the fine to $125 (it was $20) for the first infraction and $250 for the second. But Virginia legislators did not pass a hands-free measure like they have in the District, and as such enforcing the law could prove difficult. The problem: Using cell phones to dial a number or setting the phone GPS is legal. “Distracted driving is a big problem, but it’s bigger than just phone use,” said Russ Rader of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, to the Washington Post. “Even if a law were successful in stopping phone use and texting, it wouldn’t eliminate distracted driving.” Northern Virginia Del. Scott …
Friday, February 8, 2013
Virginia lawmakers consider giving law enforcement the authority to stop drivers solely for texting.
Jail time is no longer on the table as a maximum penalty as state lawmakers look to tighten Virginia's texting-while-driving law. The Old Dominion is in line to increase the fines for such offenses, though, and to give law enforcement the power to stop drivers solely for texting. House Bill 1907 passed this week on a 92-4 vote. Del. Mark Cole (R-88 Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania) was one of the four voting against the bill. HB1907 increases the fine upon conviction to $250 — up from $20 — for the first texting-while-driving offense and $500 for each subsequent conviction. The bill makes texting while driving an aggravating circumstance to reckless driving, and so anyone convicted would face a mandatory minimum $500 penalty if they…
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Arlington delegates support bill, which would elevate penalty for texting while driving to include possible jail time and up to $2,500 fine.
A bill introduced in the Virginia General Assembly would make texting while driving a more serious offense — and the penalties upon conviction would be up to one year in jail and up to a $2,500 fine. It's not the first time such a measure has been proposed. But advocates say a recent court ruling that differentiates texting while driving from reckless driving should give them the support they need to get the bill through the General Assembly this year. "There's usually about 10 texting bills a year, and they usually all get killed," said state Del. Scott Surovell, D-Mount Vernon. "This year, something's going to change." The House bill would essentially elevate texting while driving to a primary offense, which means police could stop …
Friday, December 7, 2012
Crime Commission supports bill to make texting behind the wheel a reckless driving charge.
The Commonwealth of Virginia will consider stronger penalties for texting while driving. At their meeting on Wednesday, the Virginia State Crime Commission backed proposed legislation to make texting while driving a primary offense. Delegate Benjamin Cline (R-VA-24) and Delegate Scott Surovell (VA-D-44), introduced the legislation before the crime commission's meeting, the Richmond Community Issues Examiner reported. “In traffic cases that do not involve significant damages or injury, it is appropriate for officers to use the City ordinance when issuing citations," Fredericksburg Chief of Police David Nye said. "For more egregious cases, I support the addition of language to the existing state statute governing reckless driving to …
Dangerous law would make smart phone uses criminals.
Friday, December 7, 2012
Editor's Note: The following was submitted as a Letter to the Editor by Andrew Flusche, Attorney at Law. It is unedited. Delegate Cline pre-filed a texting while driving bill on December 4 that repeals the current Virginia ban against texting while driving. Cline’s bill replaces that narrowly tailored law with a dangerously broad addition to Virginia’s thirteen different types of reckless driving. The bill, HB 1360, would make it a class 1 misdemeanor for anyone caught “driving a motor vehicle on any highway in the Commonwealth while simultaneously using a handheld personal communications device for any purpose other than verbal communication.” The proposed bill dramatically broadens the prohibited acts and punishments for offenders. The …