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Richmond passes ban on using cellphones while driving

RICHMOND (AP) — Richmond City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Monday night to fine people caught using hand-held devices while driving.

City Council approved the measure that had been proposed by Mayor Levar Stoney in October, news outlets reported. Distracted drivers have injured or killed 218 people in city limits this year, according to the Richmond Police Department.

The city says the ordinance will take effect in six months. A public awareness campaign is expected to take place until then to educate residents about the change.

Drivers in violation of the ordinance will be fined $125 for the first offense. Subsequent offenses will result in a $250 fine.

A former police officer who was pinned between two vehicles in a crash involving a truck driver five years ago in Chesterfield County spoke at Monday’s meeting.

“It hurts me every single day when I drive across that bridge knowing this could have been avoided,” Brad Hughes said. “The result of that accident, I ended up losing both of my legs. All of this would have been changed if that driver had just been paying attention.”

A proposed statewide ban on holding a cellphone while driving failed in the Virginia General Assembly earlier this year.

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