- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi has become the 45th state to ban texting while driving.

Gov. Phil Bryant signed the bill into law this past week.

House Bill 389 prohibits drivers from writing, sending or reading text messages, emails or social media messages. It set a $25 fine until July 1, 2016 and $100 after that. Making and receiving phone calls would still be legal.

Mississippi was one of only six states without a texting ban, although it previously banned texting for beginning drivers under 18 and for school bus drivers.

Advocates cite studies finding bans have prevented deaths. The Mississippi Center for Health Policy, in a December analysis, estimated that a texting ban could have prevented 95 deaths between 2008 and 2012, as long as police could pull someone over for just that offense.

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