A House panel has passed a bill Tuesday creating a statewide ban on texting while driving.
The bill, HB 13, was cleared by the House Economics Affair committee by a 16-1 vote. Chairman Jimmy Patronis was the only vote against. The Panama City Republican was concerned about government intrusion into people's lives.
The ban is enforceable only as a secondary offense, meaning that police have to first stop drivers for another offense such as speeding. A first violation is a $30 fine.
The statewide ban includes typing a text or reading a text while driving on both a tablet computer or a mobile phone. It excludes using a "talk-to-text" feature and allows texting while stopped at a red light.
A companion bill (SB 52) is in the Senate.