Proposed VA. law bans phones while driving

A Virginia lawmaker wants to make it a crime for drivers to use cellphones while driving - even if you’re using a hands-free device. If passed, it would be the strictest cellphone law in the area.

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(Photo: Associated Press)

Delegate Vivian Watts, D-Annandale, said her bill would fine drivers up to $500 for operating a cell phone while driving.

Watts is a former state transportation and public safety secretary.

Currently it’s not against the law to hold a cell phone while driving in Virginia. In Maryland and D.C., driver’s are required to use a hands-free device if they’re driving.

Drivers in Virginia had mixed opinions of the proposed law. Some like Brian Melman, of Arlington, said it would make streets much safer for pedestrians and drivers alike.

Arlington driver Shelita Aldrich said she makes her calls before she gets on the road and supports the proposed law.

“If you need to talk to someone or have a long conversation, then you need to pull over to the side of the road,” she warned.

But with some of the worst traffic congestion in the nation, some argue that drivers in Virginia need to use phones for basic communication.

“If you have a bluetooth, I don’t see a problem with that, you know, as long as you’re careful when driving,” said Cythia Collado, an Arlington resident.

Jessica Phillips, of Arlington, said some drivers are distracted by things other than cell phones.

“It’s not just cellphone usage,” she said. “People are drinking their coffees, they’re eating. So I think it’s going to be a little bit of an extreme.”

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