0
Votes

Delegate Tom Rust Contributes Key Provision to Texting While Driving Bills

Last week, the General Assembly passed two pieces of legislation—SB 1222 and HB1907—which would change the offense of texting while driving from a secondary offense to a primary one. Earlier in the 2013 session, Delegate Tom Rust (R-Herndon) introduced a bill (HB1357) which, on its own, would change the status of the offense, and receiving wide bipartisan support, the bill was incorporated into HB1907.

“As a secondary offense, texting while driving is punishable only if a driver is stopped for committing some other offense with it, like speeding. On its own, texting while driving is a reckless behavior, and committing another reckless, dangerous act shouldn’t be required to stop the first,” said Del. Rust.

The bills increase the fines on offenders to $250 for a first offense and $500 for a second or subsequent offense. Currently, the fine is $20 for a first offense and $50 for a second or subsequent offense. The bills also increase the punishment of any person convicted of reckless driving to include a $500 mandatory minimum fine if that person was texting at the time of the reckless driving offense.