Virginia governor aims to improve driver safety, modernize transportation system

Published: Feb. 7, 2020 at 2:39 PM EST
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Governor Ralph Northam and legislative leaders announced support for a

that they say will improve driver safety and modernize funding for transit, rail and roads in Virginia.

“Virginians should be able to get to work or to school safely, without sitting in traffic,” Northam said in a press conference. “This bold package will reduce congestion, transform transit and rail service and support economic growth across Virginia. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the General Assembly to pass it into law.”

Northam said the "landmark" package will prohibit the use of handheld cell phones while driving, ban open containers of alcohol in vehicles, make failure to wear a seat belt a primary offense, enhance speed enforcement, and allow localities to lower speed limits.

Northam said these measures are expected to save more than 120 lives a year.

If passed, this legislation would also cut vehicle registration fees in half, but the gas tax would be raised four cents, indexing it to inflation.

The measures are outlined in House Bill 1414 and Senate Bill 890.