State lawmaker renews push to ban distracted driving

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Some state lawmakers have started a new push to ban texting while driving even though past measures have failed.

Florida is one of only about a dozen states that still allow drivers to text behind the wheel.

Two years ago, Chad Lowery said, his life was changed by a driver who couldn't wait to use her phone.

"There were so many ways it could have been over for me on the highway," said Lowery.

Now, he's using his story to educate people on the serious and deadly effects of distracted driving.

Some lawmakers have tried for more than five years to ban texting while driving, and nearly every year, the bills failed to get through the state House of Representatives, but Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, hasn't given up her fight.

Detert told Channel 9 she has filed a fifth bill to ban texting while driving.

She said she's optimistic now that some of the bill's opponents were voted out of office.

"Some of my main stumbling blocks are no longer in the legislature," said Detert.

AAA says even drivers who use a hands-free device with their phone when they're behind the wheel are four times more distracted than if they were only concentrating on the road.

Detert's bill would make texting while driving a secondary offense. That means an officer would need to pull a driver over for something like speeding or not wearing his or her seat belt first.