Posts Tagged 'texting while driving'

Rep. Garland’s Texting Bill Passes Senate Committee

State Representative Nancy Garland announced the passage of House Bill 99 out of the Senate Highways and Transportation Committee.  This bi-partisan bill, which calls for a statewide texting while driving ban, is co-sponsored by Rep. Damschroder and was passed in House session on June 28, 2011 by a vote of 88-10.

In the Highways and Transportation Committee, a sub-bill was offered that amended H.B. 99 to prohibit the use of all electronic communication devices by drivers under the age of 18.  The use of any electronic communication device by a minor will be a primary offense. The sub-bill changed texting while driving to a secondary offence for drivers over 18.  Offenders would receive a fine of up to $150 dollars.  The bill also establishes a 6-monthof grace period to educate drivers and ease the transition, as well as requiring the inclusion of the dangers of texting while driving in driver education courses.

“Texting behind the wheel creates a dangerous environment that puts the well-being of everyone on the road in jeopardy.  This bill saves lives. With the new amendment, I am pleased that the use of electronic devices is prohibited for minors, which will undoubtedly make Ohio’s roads safer. However, I feel that making driving while texting a secondary offense will adversely affect the ability to curb this dangerous activity. Though this legislation is a step in the right direction, we need to go further to limit texting while driving,” said Rep. Garland.

Studies show that drivers are 20 times more likely to get in a crash or a near crash if texting or receiving text messages while driving.  Drivers take their eyes off the road on average of 6.5 seconds when texting and driving. This is the same as driving the length of a football field at 55 mph with closed eyes. The National Transportation Safety Administration has reported that text-messaging while driving is 2 times more dangerous than drinking and driving.  The reaction time of drivers who are texting is 35 percent slower than it is for marijuana smokers and 12 percent slower than it is for drunken drivers. We need to stop this dangerous behavior.

The bill now awaits consideration on the floor of the Senate.

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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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