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Va. legislature sends texting bill to governor

Tuesday - 2/19/2013, 2:40pm  ET

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Put down your phone and stop texting, it could soon be illegal to drive and text all across the Capitol region.

The Virginia General Assembly has sent legislation that toughens the state's no-texting-while-driving rules to Gov. Bob McDonnell for his signature.

The bill makes texting while behind the wheel a primary offense, meaning police could stop drivers for the offense. And the bill also raises the fine to $250 for the first offense and $500 for the second offense.

The bill would put Virginia in line with Maryland and D.C., which already have similar laws on the books.

Currently driving and texting in Virginia is a secondary offense, which means drivers can only be cited if they're stopped for another violation such as speeding.

Another provision of the bill says anyone convicted of reckless driving faces a mandatory minimum $500 fine if the driver was texting at the time of the offense.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow @hsilverbergwtop and @WTOP on Twitter.

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