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Texting while driving now illegal in state of Ohio

Sep. 20, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

Whenever you walk outside late in the evening or at night, it is easy to tell that fall is in the air. It is amazing to think that summer has already come and gone. That means that, before you know it, winter weather will be upon us, which makes driving a car in the winding hills of southern Ohio a little trickier.

While we cannot control the amount of snow or ice that will accumulate during the winter months, the Ohio House passed and Governor Kasich recently signed a law that I believe will make our roadways safer. With technology becoming more advanced and more widely used, more and more people have engaged in the dangerous activity of texting while driving.

Everyone knows it is dangerous, but many, especially teenagers and novice drivers, still do it anyway. A survey published last year -- the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey -- found that 58 percent of high school seniors nationwide admitted to using an electronic device while driving within the previous year. The study specified that they used those devices to either text or send an e-mail, thus disregarding simply talking on the phone, which can still be dangerous, but less so.

There is no doubt that high school seniors might be the most talented demographic when it comes to texting, but combining the activity with driving is never a good idea for anyone. Therefore, earlier this summer, the governor signed into law House Bill 99. The bill bans texting while driving statewide and institutes a primary offense on drivers younger than 18. That means that someone who is younger than 18 can be pulled over solely for texting while driving.

Besides hopefully securing further protection on the roadways, HB 99 also addressed some of the confusion that had existed in Ohio that had included a patchwork of texting laws in different municipalities across the state. Now people know texting while driving in Ohio is now illegal, period.

Rep. Ryan Smith may be reached by calling 614-466-1366, e-mailing District87@ohr.state.oh.us, or writing to State Rep. Ryan Smith, 77 South High Street, Columbus, OH 43215.

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