Texting While Driving Ban Passes Senate

You can see it at almost every stoplight. Motorists still texting after the light has turned green. Continuing to text as you leave the intersection could soon be illegal in Florida.

"We see it every day as we drive to Tallahassee. It's becoming an epidemic. It needs to stop," said Sen. Nancy Detert.

Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith invoked the image of an accident that took lives over the weekend.

"This bill is long overdue. We've lost too many young people and too many people in general on the streets of Florida," said Smith.

The Senate’s leading opponent and three others didn’t cast an initial vote. The texting ban last cleared the Senate in 2009.

The problem has never been down on the Senate floor, it's been here in the House, but new leadership in the House has the bill sailing through committees. A move applauded by the Senate Sponsor.

"House members have never gotten an opinion on it. This is the first year they ever got a voice," said Detert.

The ban carries a 30 dollar fine and tickets can only be issued when police stop you for another violation. Law Enforcement concedes that enforcement could be difficult but they say it's the message that's important.

"The problem is that because it's not a law in our state, there are people who will do it and believe they can get away with it," said Quincy Police Chief Walt McNeil.

A second texting offense within five years doubles the fine to 60 dollars.

The legislation also specifies that a crash caused by the improper use of a cell phone will result in six points being assessed against your license.