Proposed law to curb distracted driving making Ohio a ‘hands-free state’

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) — A new law was introduced today in the Ohio House of Representatives to curb distracted driving.

House Assistant Majority Whip Cindy Abrams proposed House Bill 283 regarding distracted driving on Ohio roadways since it is becoming a growing problem, killing hundreds of Ohioans each year as recent studies show.

Some of the key elements of the legislation include:

• Bans using, holding, or physically supporting a device while driving and makes it a primary offense, allowing an officer to cite a driver for using a device without any other traffic offense taking place.

• Includes language similar to texting bans in 48 states by banning writing, sending, or reading texts while driving.

• Extends texting bans to also ban all non-navigational viewing such as watching or recording videos, taking photos or looking at images, live streaming, and using applications while driving.

• Protects construction zone workers while imposing twice the amount imposed for a violation for an offense committed in a construction zone.

• Addresses the concern of excessive traffic fines, permitting the offender to take a distracted driving safety course in lieu of the $150 fine for first offenses.

Fix Our Roads (FOR) Ohio is a coalition including local government, public health officials, businesses and those impacted by distracted driving.

They held a meeting Monday to discuss the bill and answer questions.

Jennifer Smith, a national advocate for families impacted by distracted drivers attended the meeting and said this about the proposed law:

“It’s very simple, if the phone is in your hand, you’re in violation. No more gray areas, loopholes or confusion on what you’re doing with your phone.”

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