Bill that bans texting, e-mailing while driving advances

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A bill that would prohibit drivers from using their cell phones to e-mail or send text messages on Utah highways will be debated on the Senate floor.

Senate Bill 149 would make sending a text message or an e-mail while on the road a class B misdemeanor.

Exemptions would be made for messages sent during a medical emergency or to report an accident or suspicious activity to police.

Drivers who injure someone while texting or e-mailing could be charged with a class A misdemeanor under the bill. If someone suffers serious bodily injury because someone was sending messages while driving, the driver could be charged with a third-degree felony.

The bill passed in a Senate committee unanimously on Friday.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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