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RICHMOND (AP) -- Both chambers of the General Assembly have approved legislation to toughen penalties for texting while driving.

Texting while driving is already punishable by a $20 fine, but it's a secondary offense. That means police can only write a ticket if they stop the motorist for another violation.

The Senate voted 24-15 and the House of Delegates voted 92-4 Tuesday to pass identical bills that would increase the fine to $250 and make it a primary offense. That would allow police to stop and ticket anyone they spot texting behind the wheel. The fine for a second offense would be $500. If a motorist is charged with reckless driving as a result of texting, there would be a mandatory minimum $500 fine.

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