Virginia May Ban Texting While Driving

    January 15, 2008

State legislators in Virginia want to ban driving while texting (DWT) on a cell phone.

Drive Smart Virginia

Virginia’s General Assembly is proposing legislation that would prohibit texting while driving an electric wheelchair, riding a bicycle, motorcycle and a moped.

"Obviously, text messaging is a huge distraction. No one could dispute that," Janet Brooking executive director of Drive Smart Virginia, a statewide nonprofit advocacy group told the Washington Post. "We could save a lot of lives with these bills."

The penalty for driving while texting would be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $250 and court costs. Dana Schrad, executive director of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, said it would be a challenge to enforce the law because it’s difficult to look into moving cars. She did say they would look for other problems such as weaving or slowing down.

A year ago Virginia legislators made it illegal for anyone under 18 to talk, send text messages or snap photos with a cell phone while driving, but they will only be ticketed if they are stopped for another offense.

Joe Farren, spokesman for the CTIA-The Wireless Association said his organization supports the ban. "We don’t think anyone should text message while driving," he said. "We don’t have a problem with that."