CRIME

Tougher texting while driving penalties passed by Virginia Senate

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Legislation to toughen the penalties for texting while driving is on its way to Gov. Bob McDonnell's desk.

Without debate, the Senate voted 28-12 Tuesday to pass a House bill increasing the fine for a first offense from $20 to $250. The fine for a second or subsequent offense would go up from $50 to $500.

The legislation also changes texting while driving to a primary offense, allowing police to stop and ticket offenders. Currently it's a secondary offense, which means drivers can only be cited if they're stopped for another violation such as speeding.

Another provision of the bill says anyone convicted of reckless driving faces a mandatory minimum $500 fine if the driver was texting at the time of the offense.

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