Texting while driving ban back on table

State senator believes this is year bill will pass in Fla.

Published On: Mar 11 2013 01:59:15 PM EDT   Updated On: Mar 04 2013 06:38:11 PM EST
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

For the sixth year in a row, legislation is being introduced to make it a non-moving traffic violation to text while driving. Getting caught would result in a $30 fine.

The legislation, however, still faces tough opposition.

Studies show texting while driving can be 23 times more dangerous than keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.

State Rep. Doug Holder, R-Sarasota, wants to ban texting and driving. He's filed legislation for the sixth straight year.

"There are 11 teenagers that die every day in the United States from texting while driving," Holder said. "Twenty-five percent of all accidents are now attributed to texting while driving."

Under the legislation, police would have to stop drivers for some other infraction. Holder says he's spent the last few years working out objections.

"We've really whittled it down to what we believe will pass, and this is the year we believe. This is the year that Florida will make texting illegal while driving," Holder said.

It may not be that simple.

When lawmakers first started talking about banning just talking on a cellphone before texting existed, many African-Americans complained they would be profiled and stopped under the legislation.

The most powerful opponent is state Sen. Joe Negron, the Senate budget chair. He said the state doesn't need another law to ban what he says is already illegal.

"If you're texting as you're driving down the road and weaving all over the road, you're being a careless driver," said Negron, R-Stuart. "You should get a citation for careless driving."

About 170,000 people were arrested last year for careless.