Several recent studies have shown drivers who send text messages from behind the wheel are at higher risk of being involved in a traffic accident. Still, state Representative Peter Barca says few people realize how long their eyes are off the road when they’re sending a message, and the behavior has to stop.

Barca is sponsoring a bill up for a vote in the Assembly today, which would outlaw texting while driving. The Kenosha Democrat says the primary intent of the bill is to make people aware of how deadly their behavior can be. He says current inattentive driving laws just don’t do enough to educate the public on the dangers of using a cell phone to text in the car.

Critics of the bill argue it will be difficult for police to enforce, but Barca says that shouldn’t prevent lawmakers from taking action to stop something dangerous from continuing.

The state Senate has already approved a similar bill, although the Assembly legislation would create a two-tier enforcement system. Under the change, first time violators would face a fine of up to $400, with that amount doubling if they’re caught again.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:05)


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