Ohio May Be Cracking Down on Texting While Driving
Call a Columbus criminal attorney if you get pulled over
Imagine you’re driving to a friend’s house on a brisk Saturday afternoon to watch the Buckeyes. As you look at the clock and realize you’re running a bit late, you hear a familiar chime from your pocket. Your friend is probably texting you and wondering where you are. Better let them know you’re on your way.
While keeping one eye on the road, you reach into your pocket, extract your smartphone, and carefully type, “On my way.” Then, suddenly, you hear a shrill wail and see the disheartening flash of red and blue lights behind you.
You’re being pulled over.
The current law
Texting while driving is illegal in Ohio, and with good reason. Every year, over 3000 teens are killed nationwide in auto accidents as a result of texting while driving. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that texting and driving is six times more dangerous than drunk driving.
However, texting while driving is currently classified as a secondary offense. That means the law only allows officers to pull a driver over if they are texting while committing another traffic offense, such as weaving or failing to signal. The only exception to this rule is that drivers who are 18 or younger can be pulled over for using any electronic device while driving, even if they are sitting in traffic or stopped at a red light.
The proposed law
Due to the difficulties law enforcement has had with enforcing the ban on texting while driving, State Representative Rex Damschroder is planning to introduce a new proposal that would strengthen the existing law. This new bill would allow police to pull drivers of all ages over for texting while driving as a primary offense.
“It is my sincere hope that my colleagues in the House and Senate recognize that this change is needed and that we can pass the bill by the end of the year,” Damschroder said.
The intended goal is to reduce text-related traffic accidents by enforcing harsher penalties on drivers who are caught texting while driving. However, until these new laws are passed, the matter is still a bit of a gray area.
A Columbus criminal lawyer can help
If you get pulled over and ticketed for texting and driving, call the professional, experienced attorneys at Yavitch & Palmer. We’re up to date on the current traffic laws, and we’ll work to get your charges minimized or dismissed if your case was handled incorrectly.