SANTA FE (KRQE) – After years of stalling, a statewide ban on texting while driving cleared a major hurdle Friday.
The Senate overwhelmingly approved the proposed law 37 to 5.
Drivers caught texting behind the wheel would be fined $25 for a first offense and $50 every time after that.
The bill contains exemptions if the car is pulled over to the side of the road or if the driver is using a hands-free device to text.
Bill sponsor Peter Wirth has been trying for years to pass the bill, but has seen it repeatedly die in the Senate.
“We’re all familiar with it, the public wants this to happen and so I think this is the year,” said Wirth, D-Santa Fe.
Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez expressed concern that the bill could be used to profile younger drivers.
Forty-one other states have texting-while-driving bans.
The proposal now goes to the House for approval.