Va. delegate wants drivers to use hands-free devices

\'\'Any time you\'re using a handheld device that causes you to not give full-time attention to your driving, that would be an offense,\'\' says Delegate Dave Albo, R-Fairfax. (WTOP/Paul D. Shinkman)

WASHINGTON — Texting behind the wheel is now a primary offense in Virginia, but drivers can still talk on the phone.

One lawmaker wants to ban that, too.

Delegate Rich Anderson was successful in making texting while driving illegal in 2013. Now, the Prince William County politician says he wants drivers to be required to use hands-free devices.

The law is on the books in Maryland and D.C.

While some drivers have stopped texting while driving, “there has not been significant changes in behavioral pattern,” Anderson says. “Therefore, my feeling is that we need to address this with more aggressive legislation that would make it a requirement that one must operate these devices hands-free.”

Anderson drives the I-95 corridor from Woodbridge to Richmond about twice per week and sees frequent bouts of reckless driving: “I have taken evasive maneuvers when someone drifts into my lane.”

The bill, which would be introduced in the 2015 General Assembly, would also forbid drivers from watching YouTube or surfing the internet, and would require drivers to input GPS information before getting on the road.

“It’s a matter of convincing my fellow members in the House and Senate that this is a good common sense law and that we should bring it onto the books,” Anderson says.

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