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.