By: Michael L. Wright
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Ohio Car Accident News: Proposed Legislation Will Strengthen Existing Distracted Driving Laws
Ohio Car Accident and Distracted Driving Report Finds Number Of Ohio Distracted Driving Reports Increased 11 Percent From 2014 To 2015
Ohio Car Accident News: As the number of Ohio Distracted Driving Reports Increased 11 Percent From 2014 To 2015, state lawmakers have introduced legislation to strengthen the existing Ohio distracted driving and texting while driving laws. Ohio House Bill 88 aims to make texting while driving a primary offense for adults, just as it is for teenage drivers under 18. Currently, texting while driving is a secondary offense for adults, which means police cannot stop drivers solely for texting but for a primary offense such as speeding. The bill would also prohibit using wireless devices in construction zones and in school zones where children are present, according to a report in the Springfield News-Sun.
[m.springfieldnewssun.com/news/news/new-push-could-toughen-texting-and-driving-rules/nrNXh/, Springfield News-Sun, May 17, 2016]
Additionally, under House Bill 86, motorists would face a $100 fine for the first distracted driving offense and $300 for subsequent offenses. The fines would double if a fatality results and drivers would be required to appear in court. Fines from the offense would go to finance driver education programs. Senate Bill 146 would add a $100 fine to other distracted driving traffic offenses.
State Rep. Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield, who supports the pending legislation, told the Springfield News-Sun that he is shocked at the type of distracted driving he sees on the road as he drives from Springfield to Columbus. However, the state representative said he would not want the bill to have “unintended consequences.” For instance, drivers with a GPS system in their car or on their phone should not have to be pulled over just because they touched the GPS to make an adjustment, he said.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the number of reported distracted drivers rose 11 percent from 2014 to 2015. Distracted driving accounted for 13,261 crashes in Ohio in 2015, and of that number, 39 crashes resulted in fatalities. In addition, 4,593 drivers were involved in crashes that resulted in 6,916 injuries. Talking on the phone and sending text messages or emails were the distractions for 24 percent of all distracted drivers, and for 41 percent of distracted drivers in fatal crashes.
[madison-press.com/news/74510/ohp-drivers-focus-on-the-road, The Madison Press]
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describe distracted driving as doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving. Those activities includes talking on a phone, texting, eating, and using in-vehicle technologies such as navigation systems.
Distracted driving accounted for 10 percent of fatal crashes on U.S. roadways in 2013, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In addition, 18 percent of injury crashes and 16 percent of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2013 were reported as distraction-effected crashes.
[www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812132.pdf, NHTSA, April 2015]
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