Pumping the Brakes on Texting While Driving

By: Deon Guillory Email
By: Deon Guillory Email

State lawmakers want to send a message about texting and driving. They plan to take up the issue during the next session of the General Assembly.

Right now, you have to be doing something else to get pulled over to get cited for texting while driving, but some lawmakers want to give police the okay to pull you over for sending that message, hoping to pump the brakes on a deadly trend.

Traffic seems to constantly flow in and out of one truck stop just off I-81.

Brandon Heishman stopped to get gas while making a little confession about texting and driving.

"Personally I'm guilty of it at times." said Heishman.

Many people are. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 15 people are killed each day because of distracted driving and texting is a big part of that.

State Senator Emmett Hanger said, "It's become a significant issue from a safety standpoint."

Hanger says he supports legislation that would make texting while driving a primary offense with the charge being reckless driving.

Driver, Robert Lee said, "Considering the amount of people that get hurt. Could be me, could be you. I think it's the only smart thing to do."

The Valley has seen two major examples of how texting and driving can kill. Back in August of 2011, 16-year-old Ricky Valencia Rocha was killed when his driver's education car was hit by a tractor trailer driver who police say may have been texting behind the wheel.

Back in June, JMU professor Don Chadrow died from what police say was distracted driving.

"I think we all, including myself, need to make smarter choices." said Heishman

"If you do enough of those things, and it's a primary offense, it may increase your insurance and most people act with their pocketbook in mind." said Lee

Your wallet will get hit hard with a reckless driving ticket. You could get a year in jail, and fines up to $2500, depending on the judge. The General Assembly takes up texting and driving when the session starts in January.

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