A House panel has approved a proposal that would stiffen the penalties for texting while driving in Virginia.

The measure, sponsored by Del. Richard L. Anderson (R-Prince William), increases the fines for texting while driving from $20 to $250 for a first offense, and from $50 to $500 for a second or subsequent offense. The bill would also elevate the crime to a primary offense. Currently, offenders can only be charged if they are stopped for a separate offense.

The bill now heads to the House floor.