Lawmakers trying to prohibit texting while driving have succeeded in resurrecting the legislation in the Arizona Senate.
Senators on Thursday gave preliminary approval to the bill on a 17-11 vote, which would be enough support for passage on a formal vote that could occur next week. Senate passage would send the bill to the House.
The action Thursday came two days after the legislation failed on an 11-11 vote, as opponents argued against new government restrictions.
The ban is needed to make roads safer, proponents said.
"The bottom line is a few seconds off the road can take lives," said Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor, D-Phoenix.
Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, said motorists distracted by texting can and should be ticketed for reckless driving.
"This is purely feel-good legislation," he said.
The bill would prohibit writing, reading or sending text messages and e-mails while driving. It would not prohibit talking on the phone while driving and would allow drivers to type a name or telephone number to make a call.
Also, in a change made Thursday, drivers could text if they pull over to the side of the road and stop their vehicle.
Sen. Al Melvin, R-Tucson, introduced the bill that passed the Senate. As written, violators would face a $50 fine. If involved in an accident, they'd face a fine of $200.
The Senate last year defeated a similar measure by one vote.
This year's measure was supported by cell phone and insurance companies, as well as hospital, police and firefighter groups.
Phoenix in 2007 passed a texting ban for motorists.
Nineteen states prohibit all drivers from texting. A handful of other states prohibit teens or drivers with a learner's permit from doing it.
Associated Press Writer Jonathan C. Cooper contributed.