NOVA lawmaker pushing hands-free cellphone bill

Hands free sign

Last August a woman pushing a baby stroller in a crosswalk in Loudon County was struck by an SUV.  Her 5-month-old baby was killed.  A witness to the accident told police that the driver of the SUV was holding  cellphone in his left hand when he struck the mother and her child.

That accident, says Sen. Scott Surovell, a Democrat who represents parts of Fairfax, Stafford and Prince William Counties, is what’s prompted him to put a bill in the hopper in Richmond that would prohibit using a cell phone while driving, unless it’s a hands-free device.  That means you’d need to use a Bluetooth earphone or speaker and a microphone to talk on that phone.  Not only that…the phone would need to be “physically mounted” in the car.

The same goes for using GPS.  The bill would make it illegal to use that mapping service unless the phone was mounted.

A $125 fine is proposed of a first offense, $250 if the offense is a repeat.

Surovell recently told the Fredericksburg Freelance Star that he spends a lot of time traveling on Interstate 95 and frequently sees motorists “staring at the phones in their hands.” Put simply, he said, “hands-free needs to be the law.” His bill is expected to be considered the legislature begins its new session in mid-January.

Fourteen states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands already have hands-free cell phone laws.

 

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Ed Tobias
Ed Tobias brings more than four decades of reporting and news management experience to his work at FairfaxNews. Tobias managed news coverage for Associated Press Radio for over twenty years.  This included coverage of the 9/11 attacks, the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, the death of Princess Diana, the Challenger and Columbia shuttle disasters and national election primaries, conventions and campaigns.  He was part of the team that built AP’s on-line video operation. Prior to joining AP, Tobias was News Director at all-news WTOP in Washington, D.C. He has won two Ohio State Awards for his reporting and producing and he led coverage that won an Edward R. Murrow Award.