Ohio Legislature Bans Texting While Driving Throughout State

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An Ohio bill designed to curb the practice of texting while driving has just cleared one more hurdle.

The State Legislature voted today by a 82-12 margin to approve a ban of texting while driving throughout the entire state of Ohio.  Any violations of this law would be considered a misdemeanor, and fines could reach as high as $150.  However, if a city has a stricter law or steeper penalty for those persons who use their cellphone while driving, the local measure takes precedence.

If a person driving a vehicle is spotted texting and that person is under the age of 18, then he or she can be pulled over and slapped with a primary offense.  However, it should be noted that, for all other drivers, texting will only be considered a secondary offense.  What this means is that adult drivers can’t be pulled over for texting alone.  They must also be committing some other offense that initiated their having to be pulled over.  Only then can a citation be issued.

Although the legislation is widely supported, some worry that it will be hard for officers to make the distinction between teens and adults.  The Ohio Fraternal Order of Police, for instance, say that they would have liked to see texting become a primary offense.  Still, they support the measure because they think it’s a step in the right direction.