NORFOLK, Va. — House Bill 1811 was introduced by Delegate Chris Collins of the 29th District. It was passed in the house Tuesday.
The bill would prohibit using a phone while driving altogether for any reason unless it can be used hands-free.
A summary of the bill said, in part: "Expands the prohibition on using a handheld personal communications device while operating a motor vehicle to all uses unless the device is specifically designed to allow hands-free and voice operation and the device is being used in that manner. "
"I think when people are on their phones and they're driving and it's in their hands, sometimes they're playing games, Skyping their friends or they're texting," said Virginia Beach Delegate Cheryl Turpin, who voted in favor of the bill.
She voted in favor of the bill because she believes it'll make roads safer and hopefully cut down on accidents due to distracted driving.
"This is really a bill to make drivers aware of their surroundings, and the belief is that if the phone's not in their hands, then they're not doing anything other than having a conversation on the telephone," she said.
The Virginia DMV shows that in 2017, 208 people were killed in crashes involving distracted driving and more than 14,000 were injured.
If it becomes law, a first offense would come with a fine of $125 and a second offense would be a fine of $250.
The bill will now cross over to the Senate. If signed by the governor, the bill will become law on July 1.