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 driversā€™ 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.