Gov. Northam wants Virginia to be a hands-free cellphone state, amends bill

Amendments need to be approved by General Assembly

By Jeff Williamson - Digital Content Manager

RICHMOND, Va. - Gov. Ralph Northam is looking to make Virginia a hands-free state when it comes to driving with cellphones.

He announced an amendment to Senate Bill 1768, which, in its current form, would prohibit drivers from holding a communications device in highway work zones.

Northam’s proposed amendments would expand this hands-free legislation to be a statewide law.

“The time has come for the Commonwealth to implement an effective and fair law to combat distracted driving,” said Northam. “Too many families have lost loved ones as a result of a driver paying more attention to their phone than to their surroundings. This bill, as amended, will be a significant step forward in promoting traffic safety across the Commonwealth.”

These amendments direct the state to annually report on all citations issued pursuant to this act as well as the relevant demographic data of each person cited, to ensure that this law is enforced appropriately.

Additionally, these amendments direct various organizations—including DRIVE SMART Virginia and the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police—to develop training and educational materials for law enforcement agencies and the public.

The General Assembly will vote on the governor's amended bill during its upcoming veto session.

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