Cell Phone Crackdown: Citywide Ban May Soon Become Law

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CLEVELAND -- A citywide ban on hand-held cell phone use while behind the wheel may be one step closer to reality. A proposal drafted by Councilman Zack Reed will be presented before the city council’s safety committee on Wednesday.

“There have been over 7,000 deaths of people who are texting or distracted driving and they weren’t all 18 and younger, it’s a serious problem,” says Reed.

While Ohio’s ban on reading, typing or sending text messages while behind the wheel has only been on the law books for a couple weeks, critics say it doesn’t go far enough since the law does not include having cell phone conversations for drivers.

Hands-free devices like headsets or Bluetooth would be allowed.  It would also be a primary offense for everyone, no matter the age.

“I always see these kids, you know, texting or talking on their cell phones and it’s kind of ridiculous, “ says Carlos Rijos, who supports the bill since he spends the majority of his time on the road, working as a deliveryman for an auto parts store in Cleveland.

After the council’s safety committee hears the proposal, it will go before the finance committee next week. Reed is hoping for passage on the floor of the city council soon after.

Reed says right now, he is two votes shy of the 10 votes needed to pass the bill into law. If passed, it wouldn’t go into effect until January, 2013. Councilman Reed says that would give motorists enough time to purchase ear pieces or Bluetooth devices needed to drive legally.

Click here to read more about other Northeast Ohio cities cracking down on cell phone use behind the wheel.