In an effort to reduce the number of texting and driving infractions in Virginia, legislators approved several changes to the laws governing such behavior earlier this week.
According to the Daily Press, the most significant change came when lawmakers agreed to making texting and driving a primary offense. This means law enforcement no longer needs another reason, such as speeding or weaving, to pull a driver over if they are suspected of using a handheld electronic device.
Another major change came when House Bill 1907 was placed into the law books this past Saturday. The legislation calls for the fines for texting and driving to be raised from $20 to $250 for a first time offense. A $500 fine will be leveled for every subsequent offense a driver commits and for any infraction involving reckless driving.
The passage of the new and improved laws will hopefully reduce the number of Virginia car accidents associated with texting and driving, while also bolstering enforcement against the behavior. The Virginia Crime Commission claims that the number of tickets issued for texting and driving has slowly increased over the last three years. In 2012, a total of 511 tickets for texting and driving were issued and elicited 414 guilty pleas.
The Virginia personal injury lawyers with the law firm of Geoff McDonald & Associates hope the new regulations and penalties will force drivers to think twice before using a handheld electronic device while driving.