RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Two bills before the General Assembly would make it illegal to use a cell phone while driving.
Current law limits certain types of usage, but the new bills would prohibit all usage of "handheld personal communication devices."
There are some exceptions, including using a GPS as part of a dispatch system, reporting an emergency, emergency workers engaged in official operations and to initiate or terminate a phone call.
It also does not apply when the vehicle is legally parked or stopped.
One of the bills also includes a ban on animals riding on the driver's lap and sitting in a manner that impedes access to the vehicle's controls or blocks the driver's vision.
The maximum fine for distracted driving under the proposed legislation is $500, and there is a minimum fine of $250 if the violation occurs in a construction zone.
The provision has passed a House committee and now moves to the full House for a vote, which could come as early as Thursday.
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