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Ban on texting while at red lights considered in Virginia

A subcommittee of the Virginia House Transportation Committee has approved House Bill 461 that will expand the state's current law against texting while driving. The bill, which was approved by a vote of six to one, would prohibit drivers from various activities, such as reading social media posts or other information displayed on the device. In addition, drivers would not be allowed to "manually select multiple icons" on any handheld communication device such as a cellphone. Currently, only text messages and email are prohibited.

House Bill 461 was proposed by a Republican delegate from Prince William County. Delegate Richard Anderson had a brother-in-law who was injured in a car wreck with someone who has texting and driving. Anderson said, "It should be called impaired driving, not distracted driving." He wants the bill to apply even when people's vehicles are stopped, such as at a red light.

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reports that 68 people lost their lives because of distracted driving from January and July last year. Police officers have to worry about getting struck by a distracted driver when they pull someone over for texting and driving. One police officer from Manassas is still recovering from being struck. She suffered brain damage and was in the hospital for two months. She has not yet returned to full duty.

The legislators on the subcommittee have tabled a bill that would have increased texting while driving fines to $250 for a first-time violation and $500 for a repeat violation.

Those who are injured because of distracted drivers have a right to seek compensation for their medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and much more. The families of those who are killed by distracted drivers also have a right to seek compensation for their loved one's final expenses and more. A lawyer can help you determine how to proceed with such a lawsuit.

Source: wtvr.com, "Virginia considers ban on texting at red lights," Feb. 09, 2016

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