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Florida leaders push ban on texting while driving

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Charlie Crist and the state's top highway safety appointee endorsed a ban on texting while driving Tuesday, adding new momentum to an idea that has never taken hold in the Legislature.

At a Cabinet meeting, Crist politely prodded Julie Jones, the executive director of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, to support a texting ban.

"It's important that we do everything we can to make sure that our fellow Floridians are safe," Crist said. "The obvious danger of it (texting while driving) is absurd."

"We support limiting texting and driving," Jones told Crist and the Cabinet after he asked her to add the issue to the agency's 2010 legislative wish list.

Jones later told reporters that she senses a shift in public opinion in support of a crackdown on texting while driving as a result of a number of fatal accidents caused by texting behind the wheel.

More than a dozen bills on the issue have been filed for consideration in the spring 2010 session. Similar measures have rarely gotten even a committee hearing in past years.

Sen. Carey Baker, R-Eustis, a candidate for agriculture commissioner, has filed two bills to ban texting while driving.

"I think this year, something's going to pass," Baker said.

Fourteen states and the District of Columbia already ban texting while driving.

Information from the News Service of Florida was used in this report.

Florida leaders push ban on texting while driving 11/17/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 17, 2009 9:45pm]

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