Va. bill hopes to stop distracted driving

distracted driving

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Delegate Mike Mullin, Peninsula Democrat, is sponsoring a bill that would take an aim at distracted driving.

According to lawmakers, Virginia saw an increase in driving deaths from 2016 to 2017. That’s the first time there has been increase in 40 years.

Hampton Roads lawmakers say cell phone use is a major contributor, however, Mullin says this isn’t a cell phone ban. “It’s about making common sense laws to save lives.”

House Bill 181 was created to combat the problem.  It states that you can use your cell phone while driving. However, anytime that use substantially diverts attention, it’s illegal.

Mullin says that means looking at your phone for an extended period of time. “You see people who are so knee-deep into their phones that there’s no way they can see what’s going on and that’s what we’re trying to talk about here.”

In order to enforce this, Mullin explained, police will have to catch people in the act. If you’re caught, you could be fined up to $500.

Several Virginians had a positive reaction about the potential of a stricter policy for phones on the road.

“I’m in total agreement with it, I spent my whole teens and my twenties driving without a phone and I got there safe and I didn’t miss anything,” said driver Cheryl Freeland.

Virginian Brian Baird said, “I think it’s a good idea…You can’t text and drive not for one second that’s a no brainer.”

A local truck driver tells 10 On Your Side they aren’t allowed to use their phones will driving, not even for a second.

“I agree with it, as a professional driver I see people distracted all the time and it is pretty dangerous, I’ve seen people make bad decisions as far as driving, cutting us off so all around I think it’s a good idea,” explained driver Eric Edwards.

The distracted driving bill has passed out of the committee, but is still waiting to be voted on