Texting & Driving Ban Makes Progress in Senate - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Texting & Driving Ban Makes Progress in Senate

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"You don't know the impact until you see the impact," says Angela Clark.

She's talking about the deadly impact of a text message.

Clark says it's believed a text message was the reason why Alan "Buddah" Vasquez lost control of his vehicle and later died.

"Driving is not a right," says Clark. "It's a privilege and people take that privilege for granted every single day."

The death of Clark's stepfather has caused her to spread awareness of how dangerous texting and driving can be.

Her latest effort landed her in Tallahassee earlier this week at the Senate Transportation Committee's first hearing on a texting and driving ban. 

"I think if the laws would be there, he would be alive," says Clark.

At the hearing earlier this week, lawmakers voted 9 to 0 on making texting while driving a secondary offense.

This isn't the first time such a bill has been filed. It passed through the Senate but not the House last year.

"It's a tough process," says Senate President Don Gaetz, who voted as a senator in favor of such legislation two years in row.

"You gotta get through all the floors, all the committees, but if it gets on the floor of the Senate, I'll vote for it again."

A similar bill is also making it's way through the House.

House Representative for District 5 Marti Coley says while texting while driving is definitely a problem, it's legislation that would be hard to enforce. "If we start legislating texting, do we need to consider putting make up on, do we need to consider multiple members in a car, fiddling with the radio?" questions Coley.

She says a primary focus should be put on education of the dangers with careless driving, which are not limited to texting and driving.

Jackson County Sheriff Lou Roberts says he supports legislation and wouldn't be opposed to see the offense eventually become a primary one.