A Virginia Senate committed approved legislation on Monday that would greatly increase penalties for texting while driving.

Under the current law, drivers caught texting in the commonwealth can receive $20 fines the first time they are cited and they receive a $50 fine if they are subsequently caught texting behind the wheel. Additionally, drivers can only be cited for texting while driving if a police officer stops them for another violation. 

But proposed legislation would allow police to stop and ticket anyone whom they see texting while driving and would increase drivers’ fines. Under the bill endorsed Monday by the Senate Courts of Justice Committee, the first time motorists are caught texting behind the wheel, they would receive a $250 fine. The second time someone is caught, they would receive a $500 fine. 

A House of Delegates committee has already approved legislation that would make the same changes to texting-while-driving penalties.