A bill seeking to expand situations under which a person could be charged with distracted driving died in the final days of the session after much discussion and the introduction of two substitutes on the Senate floor. The version of HB 181 (Collins) that passed out of the House, 50-47, provided that any person driving a motor vehicle on any highway while using a handheld personal communications device substantially diverting the driver’s attention from operating the vehicle is guilty of distracted driving.
Ultimately, the House unanimously rejected the substitute, and the Senate insisted on its amendments, 35-4. The bill went into conference for two days, and failed to pass due to no action taken in the House.
However, HB 1525 (Yancey), which adds an increased mandatory fine of $250 for using a handheld personal communications device for reading emails or texting while operating a motor vehicle in a highway work zone fared better and passed both houses and is headed to the Governor’s desk.
VACo Contact: Khaki LaRiviere