SHARECOMMENTMORE

Tallahassee, Fla. -- A bill to ban texting while driving is sailing through the Florida Senate, but it's all but dead in the House.

That means the Senate bill sponsor, Sen. Nancy Detert, is already looking to next year for the legislation.

The Senate has passed the bill two out of the last three years. Detert expects the Senate to pass it again in the coming weeks. But Republican leaders in the House have steadfastly opposed the measure.

Speaker Dean Cannon believes it is a driver's own responsibility to be safe on the roads and he doesn't like extra regulation that might infringe on people's freedoms.

Sen. Detert says she'll continue pushing the texting-while-driving bill because she thinks it's the right thing to do.

"I think it makes complete sense to 98 percent of Floridians and the other two percent are in the House of Representatives, I guess."

Detert says it's especially frustrating to see her legislation dying when everyone sees examples virtually every day of people texting behind the wheel.

"I just spent five hours driving up here yesterday and once again, you can have a story a day about people that are texting. There was a guy driving a big SUV, 80 miles an hour, steering with his knee, head down, and both thumbs on his Blackberry."

Detert's bill would make texting and driving a secondary traffic offense, which means police could not pull you over for texting behind the wheel. They could only issue a ticket in connection with another driving offense.

She says evidence is mounting that texting-while-driving is creating more dangerous roads.

"Teenage accidents and deaths due to texting are up like 10 percent nationwide but 66 percent in Florida because we've got a lethal combination going here. We've got a lot of new drivers on the road, teenagers, they love their technology. They like to talk and text and drive and they're not seasoned drivers. Then we have a lot of elderly drivers and we have a lot of tourists who are unsure of where they're going. So it makes for a bad combination. I'm going to continue to do the bill until people catch up with our thinking. I just think it's the right thing to do."

SHARECOMMENTMORE