Senate Passes Texting Bill

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A fatal school bus crash in Knoxville has inspired Tennessee lawmakers to seek tougher penalties for drivers using electronic devices.

Investigators last year found that one driver had been reading a text message just before his bus crashed through a highway median and hit another school bus coming in the other direction in December 2014, killing two students and a teacher’s aide.

The Senate voted 32-0 on Monday to pass the bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Becky Massey of Knoxville. It would require a minimum sentence of at least 30 days in jail and $1,000, along with a permanent school bus driving ban.

The current penalty for using an electronic device while driving a school bus is $50.

The House version will be taken up after the budget bill.

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