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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – A bill that would ban texting while driving in Florida has received unanimous approval from a Senate panel on Wednesday.

The Senate Communications committee voted 9-0 for the bill (SB 52) which makes it illegal for drivers to text behind the wheel. Police and other emergency vehicles would be exempt.

The proposed law makes texting subject to secondary enforcement. Police could cite drivers for it only if they had been pulled over for another violation such as speeding. A violation would lead to a fine and — if texting resulted in a crash — the driver would be assessed six points. Points lead to increased insurance rates.

This is the fourth consecutive year the bill has been brought up. The last three times the measure failed because critics in the House likened it to needless government intrusion.

Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia already have bans.

RELATED: Texting While Driving Bill Closer To Law, New Strings Attached


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