09/02/2012 08:46 am ET

Texting While Driving Law And Virginia Legislature Criticized By Fairfax Judge


One night in May 2011, Jason Gage, an Alexandria man driving on a road in the Dranesville community of Fairfax County, struck and killed a college student named Kyle Rowley. Authorities later determined that Gage had probably opened a text message about the time of the crash. They charged him with reckless driving.

But when the case went to trial in a Fairfax County court last month, Judge Thomas E. Gallahue ordered the charge against Gage dropped, his texting notwithstanding. The reason: A 2009 Virginia law makes texting while driving a minor traffic infraction punishable by a maximum fine of $20, so texting alone could not be proof of reckless driving.

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