Florida Senate passes bill that bans texting while driving

A bill targeting texting and driving is now one step closer to becoming law.

The Florida Senate passed its version Thursday night. What it means it that pretty soon it could be illegal to even touch your phone while driving! So if an officer sees you texting or holding your phone up to your ear while behind the wheel, you could get pulled over.

RELATED: House backs tougher texting, driving ban

The state Senate voted 33 to 5 to pass a bill banning texting while driving as well as talking on a cellphone while in school and construction zones. Instead, drivers would have to use a hands-free device if they wanted to communicate on their phones.

Under current law, officers can only ticket drivers for texting if they are pulled over for some other violation first. 

Glenn Victor of the Florida Safety Council tells Fox 35 that Florida is just one of four states that don't currently enforce texting while driving as a primary offense. 

"The average text they say takes 5 seconds for people to send. If you take your eyes off the road for just five seconds at 55 mph, the average passenger vehicle will travel the distance of a football field. So think about that for a moment."

Opponents of the bill say this may open the door for officers to use racial profiling to conduct traffic stops, but the bill requires reports to guard against racial profiling.

There are two versions of this bill that are very similar. 

The House bill focuses on texting while driving, while the Senate is a lot more broad. That one would actually make it illegal to use any kind of handheld device while driving. 

The bill now goes back to the House for consideration.