Dispatch supports texting while driving ban, tells lawmakers to “send a message”

The Columbus Dispatch recently came out in support of State Rep. Nancy Garland’s texting will driving bill saying, “texting while driving can be deadly and [the] state should make it illegal.”  Rep. Garland’s proposed legislation that would do just that. House Bill 99 passed the House with overwhelming bi-partisan support in late June, and it awaits action in the Senate. 

HB 99 would make texting while driving a primary offense in Ohio, meaning that law enforcement personnel could stop drivers they observe in the act of texting while operating a motor vehicle. The offense would be a minor misdemeanor and could carry a penalty of up to 150 dollars.

HB 99 has been received positively from virtually every corner: insurance companies, automotive associations, law enforcement officials, and opinion pieces have all come out in favor of the ban.

“The dangers of texting while driving have been well-documented,” Rep. Garland said at a recent press conference urging Senate passage of the bill.  “I urge the Senate to take immediate action on HB 99 to keep our roads safe for drivers, bikers and pedestrians.”

The Dispatch editorial reiterates safety concerns of texting while driving and says for those who won’t listen to reason, “…it’s time for the Ohio legislature to mandate some real consequences to get their attention.”

The editorial goes on to say, “AAA reports that of its 2 million Ohio members, 93 percent support a statewide ban. And if this bill passes, Ohio will join 34 other states that already have banned texting for drivers.

“Attitudes evolve and behavior tends to change when citizens are aware that a law exists. For example, drunken driving used to be much more accepted in society than it is today, but harsher penalties and social disapproval have changed that attitude.

“In 2008, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that drivers were 23 times more likely to cause a crash or a near-crash while texting; texters diverted their attention from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, long enough at 55 mph to travel the length of a football field…


Read the full editorial here.


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