The Senate Law & Public Safety and Budget & Appropriations committees released legislation that would increase fines and impose license suspension for talking or texting on hand-held device while driving. The bill, Senate Bill No. 69, would put in place a graduated penalty structure for repeat offenders who violate the state’s hands-free cell phone law more than once in a ten-year period; a motor vehicle violation that, under current law, carries a $100 fine for first and subsequent offenses.

Also, first-time offenders would have to pay a fine of $200. Drivers convicted of a second offense within 10 years of the first would have to pay a fine of $400, and drivers convicted of a third and subsequent offenses within 10 years of the first would have to pay a fine of $600 and face driver’s license suspension of up to 90 days. The fines would go towards a public information program about the dangers of texting while driving.