Bills Target Distracted Driving; Loudoun Student to Design License Plate

There’s a big push in the Virginia legislature this year to curb distracted driving, and it made some progress this week.

A bill championed by Loudoun County Del. Tag Greason (R-32) aimed at raising awareness about the often deadly consequences of distracted driving passed in the House of Delegates on Tuesday. House Bill 1763 establishes a specialized license plate that reminds drivers to stay off their phones when they’re behind the wheel.

Greason said he drafted the legislation following a string of “horrific accidents caused by distracted driving” last year. The public high schools in Loudoun will hold a competition to determine the license plate’s design. The delegate said that will also be an opportunity to get young people engaged in solving the problem. “Holding an open competition for the plate’s artwork empowers our youngest drivers to hold us all accountable to put down our phones when behind the wheel,” he added.

The legislation is part of a package of three bills aimed at keeping people safer on the roads. HB1834, introduced by Del. Rich Anderson (R-51), closes a loophole in state code to prohibit drivers from using mobile applications such as Facebook, Twitter and games, while still allowing them to use GPS navigation. HB1606, drafted by Del. Ron Villanueva (R-21), would strengthen penalties for those found to be driving distracted in marked highway work zones.

HB1834 has been assigned to the Committee on Courts of Justice, and HB 1606 was introduced on the House floor Monday but was passed by for the day.

2 thoughts on “Bills Target Distracted Driving; Loudoun Student to Design License Plate

  • 2017-02-03 at 10:40 am
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    As a general practice, I despise government telling me how to do anything, etc. but Downtown is right: There are the equivalent of drunk drivers, as you read these words, everywhere in Loudoun.

    Happened yesterday morning — taking a kid school, here comes the expensive SUV, with the well dressed lady behind the wheel, 3 feet over the double yellow line — she’s reading her phone.

    What is the difference between her and someone who pounds a 12 pack, or a bottle of wine, or leaves one of our endless brew houses after a few pitchers? There is no difference.

    The issue is non-enforcement: Loudoun county could solve a nice chunk of budget issues by simply enforcing the law on no texting. Pull up to any intersection and look around. Most of your fellow drivers are texting. Why have a law that’s not enforced?

  • 2017-01-31 at 4:58 pm
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    So why doesn’t VA pass the no hand held devices rule that most areas have?
    The “distracted Driving” penalties should be the same as a DUI, since there are many studies that show the distracted driving is as bad if not worse that DUI….

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