Senate approved legislation to increase the fines for texting or using social media while driving unanimously passed out of the House Transportation Committee.

Baton Rouge Senator Yvonne Colomb says using a cell phone while driving is one of the most dangerous things you can do behind the wheel.

“Five seconds is the average time that a person looks away to text, and if you’re driving at 55, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field,” Colomb said.

The bill seeks to raise the fine from $175 to $500 for a first offense. Colomb says texting while driving is a serious problem because so many people are doing it, and she says it’s costing people their lives.

“Six hundred sixty thousand drivers, they’re using cell phones and manipulating electronic devices while driving. That’s from the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission,” Colomb said.

No one spoke out in opposition to the bill. Baton Rouge Representative Denise Marcelle supports the proposal and hopes higher fines will get people to stop this dangerous habit.

“I do believe that when we enhance the penalties that people pay closer attention to what they’re doing,” Marcelle said.

The measure now heads to the House floor for final legislative passage.