Handheld personal communications devices; use while driving, penalty. (HB461)

Introduced By

Del. Rich Anderson (R-Woodbridge) with support from co-patrons Del. Gordon Helsel (R-Poquoson), Del. Ken Plum (D-Reston), Del. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke), and Sen. Jennifer Boysko (D-Herndon)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Use of handheld personal communications devices while driving; penalty. Expands the prohibition on manually entering multiple letters or text in a handheld communications device while operating a motor vehicle to also prohibit the manual selection of multiple icons and removes the condition that such manual entry is prohibited only if performed as a means of communicating with another person. The bill prohibits the operator of a motor vehicle from reading any information displayed on the device; current law prohibits reading an email or text message. The bill provides that this prohibition does not apply to reading any information displayed through the use of a global position system for the purposes of navigation. The bill eliminates the current exemption from the prohibition on using a handheld personal communications device while operating a motor vehicle when the vehicle is stopped or not moving; the current exemption from the prohibition when the vehicle is parked is not affected. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/08/2016Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/13/16 16100911D
01/08/2016Referred to Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety
01/15/2016Referred from Militia, Police and Public Safety
01/15/2016Referred to Committee on Transportation
01/29/2016Assigned Transportation sub: Subcommittee #1
02/08/2016Subcommittee recommends reporting (6-Y 1-N)
02/11/2016Continued to 2017 in Transportation
12/01/2016Left in Transportation


Marilyn Harriman writes:

Thank you to those who sponsored this important legislation. I frequently drive on Fairfax County Parkway, I-95, 395, and 495.
Each day I am behind someone or beside someone who is clearly texting. Texters impede traffic, they disrupt trafffic, but most of all, they pose a safety hazard. I do my best to avoid the distracted car weaving and erratic speeds, but I find myself constantly praying the texters will look up and not hit me.
How this bill died is beyond me.
Please revive it. Recent Traffic accident reports justify the need to send a clear message that texting is dangerous and unacceptable. Texters shouldn't get a free pass to make our roads unsafe.
Marilyn Harriman