Florida Lawmakers Pass Texting-While-Driving Ban

The bill passed in the Senate by a 39-1 vote.

Florida lawmakers have passed a statewide ban on texting while driving.

The Senate passed a bill (SB 52) on Thursday by 39-1. Republican Sen. Joe Negron of Stuart was the only no vote.

The House approved it earlier this week but added a provision allowing police to use drivers' mobile phone records against them only when texting causes a crash resulting in death or personal injury. That change required it to come back to the Senate.

Bill sponsor Sen. Nancy Detert said she decided "not to let the perfect get in the way of the possible" and agreed to the late amendment.

The bill now goes to Gov. Rick Scott's desk. Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca believes the latest effort could become law.

"It's very non-political. It's non-controversial," LaMarca said. "I think it's something he can get behind and it's a public safety issue."

Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia already have texting-while-driving bans for all drivers.

Yessica Torres said she believes a violent car wreck that left her mother dead and her father severely injured may have been avoided if some kind of anti-texting while driving law already existed in Florida.

”Not having that law changed my life. Maybe if we had that law back then, my life would be completely different right now,” she said.

The crash involved a teen driver who was on his cell phone minutes before the crash, his phone records showed. His attorney has told NBC 6 that his client was speeding, not texting.

Torres supports the bill awaiting action in Tallahassee.

”I know today it got passed in the Senate, and we're just waiting on Rick Scott to pass it or veto it,” she said.

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