The sheriffs’ offices from St. Mary’s, Calvert and Charles counties say deputies will conduct waves of stepped-up enforcement from now through August against driving while distracted or not wearing a seat belt.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam will try again next year to prohibit drivers from holding cellphones, after a last-ditch effort was ruled out of order in last week’s reconvened session.
There were more than 2,500 work zone crashes across Virginia last year. Transportation officials held a vigil Monday night in Charlottesville for workers killed on the job.
“Rarely do policymakers get such a clear-cut opportunity to save lives,” said Gov. Ralph Northam.
The governor of Virginia has a midnight Tuesday deadline to sign, veto or seek to amend the bill.
A Virginia Tech study found that normal conversations with hands-free devices don’t make driving more dangerous, but it’s still true that handheld devices make your risk of a crash much worse.
Distracted driving has been a problem for years, but the cause of the distraction has changed dramatically — and resulted in hundreds of crash deaths.
The first focus of the newly formed executive leadership team on highway safety is distracted driving, but it expects to focus on additional areas like driver education, law enforcement and additional roadway design changes in the future.
People’s addiction to cellphones is making it difficult to address distracted driving and distracted walking, a local police officer said. But he believes awareness and education might help.
Maryland’s Senate voted 32-12 on Friday to increase the penalties for holding a mobile device while driving. A first offense in which the driver goes to court would cost $250.
While Montgomery County officials announced the new initiative, police nearby used spotters to catch phone-gazers in the act.
Virginia officials say that the number of crashes and deaths related to drivers distracted by mobile devices is almost on par with those related to drunken driving — and probably higher than reported.
Most drivers surveyed believe that distracted driving is a problem on the rise, but they don’t always practice what they preach, according to a recent survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Driving with a cellphone in your hand would be banned in Virginia under a bill approved this week by the state Senate. The bill now goes back to the House of Delegates.
A test drive Wednesday at FedEx Field demonstrated that you don’t need to be holding a phone to be distracted while driving — your vehicle’s own features can be tough enough to operate.
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