Va. bill would ban cell phones while driving

A state senator there is pushing a bill that would make it illegal to drive -- while using your cell phone without a hands-free device.

FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA (WUSA9) - A Virginia state senator is pushing a bill that would make it illegal to drive in the commonwealth while using a cell phone.

The legislation, sponsored by Senator Scott Surovell, of Fairfax, would only allow drivers to use their phones if they were in hands-free mode.

"Right now, if you're driving your car, you could actually be browsing the internet, playing Pokemon Go, playing Angry Birds and it's completely legal," he said.

RELATED: Man distracted by phone, hits police car in Md.

Maryland and D.C already have similar laws on the books, but Surovell believes it would benefit the entire region if all local jurisdictions were on the same page. 

Read the legislation by clicking here

Surovell added the measure would also help the police. He said Virginia's current law against texting and driving is too hard for them to enforce.

"They can't tell what you're doing when you've got your phone in your hand, whether you're dialing a number or whether you're entering texts or letters for purposes of communication," he said. "So, it's a completely unenforceable statute."

This isn't the first time such legislation has been proposed in Virginia. Similar bills popped up in the legislature in 2015 and 2016.

However, Surovell said they ran into criticism. He said some lawmakers voiced concern that not everyone could afford bluetooth technology and that the proposal was a form of "big-government" intrusion.

It's quite possible the legislation could be recevied differently in 2018 with the influx of new lawmakers in Richmond.

© 2018 WUSA-TV


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