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Arizona Senate votes to ban texting while driving

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The Arizona Senate has voted to ban texting while driving.

The Senate’s 18-12 vote Tuesday sends the bill to the House.

The bill would make it a nonmoving civil traffic violation punishable by a $50 fine to manually enter information into a handheld wireless device to write, send or read written messages while driving.

The penalty would increase to $200 if the violator is involved in an accident.

Exemptions include allowing motorists to make a telephone call. And texting would be allowed if the motorist’s vehicle is stopped in traffic but not at a red light or stop sign.

Penalties would start in 2012 after a warning period.

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