Updated: Tuesday, 08 Feb 2011, 5:24 PM EST
Published : Wednesday, 19 Jan 2011, 6:04 PM EST
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - The bill to ban texting while driving cleared the first hurdle in the General Assembly Wednesday, but not without opposition.
Thirty states have already made it illegal to send text messages from behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. A committee in the Indiana House was told Indiana should join the majority.
"People of all ages are doing this and it's extremely dangerous," said Sherry Dean of AAA.
"It clearly exceeds alcohol in terms of its ability to distract the driver," said Dr. Lawrence Reed of IU Health.
The most compelling testimony, however, came from Deveeta Thompson of Fort Wayne, Ind.
"It's senseless, truly senseless,” Thompson said. “It does not have to happen."
She told the story of how her 18-year-old son, Rodney, died in a car accident caused by his own texting.
"I cannot believe that if he had known of the potential ramifications of the distraction," she said, "that he would've made the decision that he did to reach for that phone that day."
The committee responded with a 10-to-2 vote in favor of a ban on texting while driving.
Republican Mike Speedy of Indianapolis explained his 'no' vote.
"The best way you can address common sense driving and making good decisions behind the wheel is best by education,” Speedy said.
The texting ban now goes to the full House where a similar bill passed last year. Last year's attempt to make texting while driving illegal was blocked in the state Senate by committee chairman Brent Steele. Steele says he won't stand in the way this year. The ban is now on its way to becoming law.
Current Indiana law bans only teenagers from texting while driving.
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