RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Due to a Richmond city ordinance, holding a device while driving in the city of Richmond will become illegal beginning on June 9.
This will allow officers to take action whenever they see a driver operating a vehicle while using a cellphone or any other handheld device.
“In this case, “using” includes more than just taking a phone call or texting. In addition to talking on the phone or texting, manipulating the device or screen while driving to view a map, listen to music, open an email or browse social media all constitute distracted driving because the driver’s attention is temporarily diverted from the public right of way and its inhabitants,” the city said.
Police say starting on June 9 drivers using a handheld device while driving on a public street or highway in the City of Richmond could be found guilty of distracted driving and be fined. It will be punishable by a civil fine of $125 for the first offense and $250 for any subsequent offenses.
“This ordinance will hopefully reduce the occurrences of distracted driving in Richmond,” Special Operations Division Captain Don Davenport said. “The goal is to increase the safety of all who use the roadways, including pedestrians, bicyclists, joggers and other drivers. We want all motorists to begin each trip by buckling up and putting their phones down.”
According to police, the ordinance does not apply to:
- Drivers stopped or parked
- Emergency vehicle drivers such as police officers and firefighters
- Drivers using a handheld communications device to report on emergency or drivers using a radio-based communications device during an emergency
- Disaster relief operation
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