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Drivers who fire off text messages behind the wheel might want to break the habit because state lawmakers are pushing to outlaw texting while driving in Ohio.

The House of Representatives, following a nationwide trend, passed a bill 85-12 Wednesday that would ban writing, reading and sending text messages while driving. Those who get caught would be fined up to $150.

Supporters of the legislation described potentially fatal consequences when drivers — foot planted firmly on the gas pedal — take their eyes off the road for seconds on end to write and send text messages.

“What we ultimately have here is a bill that will save lives,” said Rep. Nancy Garland, a Gahanna Democrat and one of the bill’s co-sponsors.

The state Senate still has to approve a texting ban before it becomes law. Sen. Shirley Smith, a Cleveland Democrat, introduced her own bill to ban texting while driving last fall, but it has not been up for a vote yet. Senate President Bill Harris, a Republican from Ashland, is concerned about the dangers to public safety, but he has not thrown his support behind any specific proposal yet, said spokeswoman Maggie Ostrowski.

If the ban becomes law, Ohio would join 20 other states that have outlawed the practice.

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Article courtesy cleveland.com

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