New bill would ban texting while driving in Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A House panel has passed a bill creating a statewide ban on texting while driving.

The House Economics Affair committee on Tuesday cleared the bill (HB 13) by a 16-1 vote. Chairman Jimmy Patronis was the only vote against. The Panama City Republican had concerns about government intrusion into people's lives.

The ban is enforceable as a secondary offense. That means police have to first stop drivers for another offense like speeding. A first violation is a $30 fine.

The ban includes typing a text or reading a text while driving. It also includes tablet computers and mobile phones. It would exclude using a "talk-to-text" feature and allows texting while stopped at a red light.

A companion bill (SB 52) is in the Senate.


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