In Virginia, texting while driving was already considered illegal, but some felt that the measure as it currently stood was not sufficiently stringent. At the moment, texting at the wheel is only designated as a secondary offense, meaning that a driver cannot be pulled over unless he or she is first shown to be engaging in some other illegal act.
Fines are also relatively low. Persons caught texting are only privy to a $20 fine, a number that increases to just $50 if they run afoul of the ban once again.
That will all change now that lawmakers have approved a bill that would increase the fines drastically. After the House and the Senate sent the bill to the Governor, he sent it back with the request that the fine amounts be cut by half, still an increase from the current standard but not nearly as forceful as they would have been.
Both legislative bodies have now agreed to the Governor’s request, meaning that first time offenders can expect to pay $125 while subsequent violators will pay an amount that’s double that. Those fines, though, are half as large as what the originally passed bills would have entailed.
Texting will also become a primary offense under the new law, so a violator can be pulled over just for texting.