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Richmond ban on holding phone while driving begins Tuesday

Posted at 1:31 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 13:31:31-04

RICHMOND, Va. – Beginning Tuesday, June 9, holding a phone while driving will be illegal in the City of Richmond.

The new city ordinance outlawing the use of handheld communications devices while driving will be punishable by a fine of $125 and $250 for any subsequent offenses.

The offense will officially constitute distracted driving, a primary offense, in the City of Richmond.

“Using cell phones while driving is more than a bad habit – it’s a deadly one,” said Mayor Stoney. “We all have a responsibility to put the phone down and prioritize the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, our fellow drivers and ourselves.”

In 2018, there were 73 distracted driving crashes in Richmond were the result of using a cell phone while driving, according to the mayor’s office. The office says the actual number is likely much higher due to underreporting.

You can still have a phone in your hand if:

· You are stopped
· You are parked
· You’re an emergency vehicle driver (police officer, firefighters, etc.)
· You are reporting an emergency
· You are using the device during an emergency or disaster relief operation

A similar law takes effect statewide in 2021.

Richmond City Council voted unanimously in December 2019 to ban the use of cell phones while driving, a measure proposed by Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney.