Both chambers of the General Assembly have approved legislation to toughen penalties for texting while driving.
Texting while driving is already punishable by a $20 fine, but it's a secondary offense. That means police can only write a ticket if they stop the motorist for another violation.
The Senate voted 24-15 and the House of Delegates voted 92-4 Tuesday to pass identical bills that would increase the fine to $250 and make it a primary offense. That would allow police to stop and ticket anyone they spot texting behind the wheel.
The fine for a second offense would be $500. If a driver is charged with reckless driving as a result of texting, there would be a mandatory minimum $500 fine.
The family of a young Herndon man who they believe died after being hit by a texting driver said they're happy that the bill passed.
"It's not texting -- it's not looking at the road while you're driving a car, which turns into a weapon," Carl Rowley told News4's Shomari Stone.
In May 2011, Rowley's 19-year-old son, Kyle, was pushing his broken-down car into the shoulder of Route 7 in Fairfax County when he was fatally struck by another vehicle.
If Gov. McDonnell signs the bills into law, the new fines will take effect July 1.