‘It’ll save lives’: Local drivers react to Hands-Free Law going into effect Jan. 1

Politics

RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) – This is the last weekend before the Hands-Free Law goes into effect on Jan. 1, making it illegal to hold your phone or other mobile device while driving.

DRIVE SMART Virginia says using your phone while driving increases the risk of a crash by 2300%.

“Seems obvious that using your phone while driving is a dangerous thing,” Midlothian resident Wes Mason told 8News Saturday.

It’s a dangerous thing that could turn deadly, much like the scene in 2018, when a Chesterfield woman hit and killed three people and an unborn child, seconds after she texted a friend.

Now, lawmakers are hoping to prevent fatal crashes like that one, with the new law.

“It’ll save lives,” said Donald Matthews, with Diamond D’s Towing.

Starting Jan. 1, holding your cell phone behind the wheel will result in a $125 fine.

Wes Mason, of Midlothian, says he hasn’t seen many folks using their phones on the roads and thinks that’s a fair punishment.

“I think if the fine was any more than that, I might take a little umbridge with it, but for what they’re, for what the fine is with that, I think that’s fair,” he said.

On the road 24/7, Donald Matthews tells 8News he often sees people using their phones while driving.

“Tow truck people all the time get run over because people are on their phones, or whatever. They’re not paying attention,” said Matthews.

As a tow truck driver himself, he says the worst moments are when he tows vehicles from crashes where young people have died because someone was texting.

“That really eats at you. You see some bad stuff,” he said.

A second offense of the upcoming law will get you a $250 fine.

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