Texting while Driving Ban Clears Ohio Senate

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- State lawmakers are forcing drivers to get their eyes off their texts and back on the road ... or be fined.

Thursday, the Ohio Senate passed House Bill 99, which outlaws texting while driving.

"Without legislation, I think no one is going really to take an active approach to it," Mario Ingraffa, of Lakewood, said.

According to AAA, the average time some spends not looking at the road while texting is 4.6 seconds.

Under the proposed law, adult drivers cannot be pulled over only for texting while driving, they also have to be committing another traffic offense, such as speeding, making a texting violation what's called a "secondary offense."

Brian Newbacher, director of public affairs for AAA East Central Ohio said they liked the fact it would be a $150 fine, but they would have liked the anti-texting law made a primary offense.

"If you have to be pulled over for another violation before you can be cited, that part is the weakest, but we are very much in favor and 100-percent supportive of the teen portion of it," Newbacher said.

The bill makes it illegal for drivers under age 18 to text or talk on the phone, and they can be pulled over for it.

If caught, they lose their license for two months.

"I think that's pretty fair. They got plenty of time to use their phones. Why do it while you are driving," Curtis Hopkins of Cleveland said.

Texting and talking while driving is already banned in some northeastern Ohio communities including Cleveland; currently there is a proposal to ban talking on the phone while driving within the city limits, as well.

Newbacher said he expected Gov. John Kasich to sign the bill into legislation.

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