The bill increases the fine to $250 — up from $20 — for the first texting-while-driving offense and $500 for each subsequent conviction. It also makes texting while driving an aggravating circumstance to reckless driving, and so anyone convicted of such would face a mandatory minimum $500 penalty if they were texting while they were driving recklessly.
Texting while driving would also become a primary offense, which means police can stop someone on the suspicion that a driver is texting; current law allows police to charge someone with texting while driving only if they've stopped that person for another violation.
The Virginia senators who represent the McLean area voted in favor of the bill, which passed 28-12.
A similar bill is awaiting third reading in the state House of Delegates. It will likely pass this week.
In cases where two similar bills reach the governor's desk, whichever is signed last becomes the law of the land.
For more on what Falls Church's representatives are up to, check the Falls Church Patch government news section here.