Street Safe Teens: Proposed Legislation to Curb Dangerous Habits

By: Bailey Disselkoen Email
By: Bailey Disselkoen Email

February 13, 2012

From texting to fiddling with the radio, there are a lot of distractions for today's teenagers.

"It's a growing problem and it's going to get worse. Something has got to be done," said Richard Wharam, a driving instructor at Albemarle High School.

National studies show 28 percent of all crashes are caused by texting, and now Virginia lawmakers are trying to find a solution.

"There is no doubt we have a tremendous problem with distracted driving," said Delegate David Toscano (D-57th). "We are going to try to do what we can to solve that. Hopefully we'll get something good out of this session."

A State Senate bill that makes texting and driving a primary offense is headed to the House of Delegates, but it remains up in the air.

Toscano, who sits on the transportation committee, says while texting and driving needs to stop, crafting a bill to accomplish that isn't easy.

"The biggest challenge we always have is how to enforce it. How do you know when someone is texting and when they are not," he asked.

Last year, a similar bill passed in the State Senate, but failed in the House of Delegates, and Toscano says that may be the case once again.

While delegates grapple with how to curb the habit, teachers are reinforcing the dangers.

"We are constantly looking for ways and things to say to try to bring to their attention that texting and driving do not go together," said Wharam.

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