Va. senator proposes bill banning hand held cell phone use in vehicles

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- The days of having a cell phone in your hand while driving in Virginia could soon be over.

Senator Scott Surovell, who represents the 36th district, has proposed a bill to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.

Sen. Surovell said the current texting law doesn't go far enough and the safety of every driver is the driving force behind his proposal.

According to DMV, there were 173 distracted driving fatalities last year compared to 156 the year before.

"I really had an epiphany about the issue of texting and driving when I represented the family of Kyle Rowley about four years ago," Surovell said. "Kyle was an 18-year-old, whose car ran out of gas on the way home from his summer job."

Surovell said Rowley was killed by a man texting his wife while driving 60 m.p.h.

It's just one reason Surovell introduced a bill banning all hand held cell phone use while behind the wheel.

"I read an article in the New York Times that, two months ago, indicated that fatal accidents were up 10% between January 1 and June 30, 2016, and the only explanation that's been given for that is people distracted due to using their phones while driving."

The bill would prohibit you from having a cell phone in your hand while operating a vehicle, but you could still use your phone's GPS or other features, as long as it's mounted.

Opponents to the bill said it encourages too much government involvement.

The bill will be presented next week when the next legislative session begins and sometime over the next few weeks a committee will hear it.

This story will be updated when it moves through the legislative process.

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