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Ohioans want distracted driving rules better enforced

It's been one year since Ohio passed laws against distracted driving and texting-while-driving. Unfortunately, however, authorities are not impressed with the results of their new laws.

The Ohio Department of Transportation says that in the last twelve months only sixty people have been ticketed by Ohio State Patrolpersons in northeast Ohio for texting-while-driving. Police cite the fact that the rules are just simply too hard to enforce. Police say that since texting-while-driving is only a secondary offense, which means that people cannot be pulled over for texting unless they are breaking some other kind of law first, it makes it difficult to pull over just anyone who is texting. Police have been trained to look for erratic driving behavior, swerving, and trailing off the road as a precursor for catching those who are texting, but admit that people who aren't texting do those things all the time, too.

Law enforcement officials seem to see the law as more of a model for educating people about the dangers of texting and driving, but advocates in Columbus and otherwise say that these laws are enforceable and that police just simply aren't doing enough to curb this epidemic.

One person interviewed, the daughter of a man who was killed by a texting driver, told reporters that she thinks too many people, especially young drivers, are let off too easy. She feels that the law going into effect is enough of a "warning" and that if more people were ticketed and those numbers were advertised, many more would think twice before picking up their phones while they're driving. She argues that drunk drivers aren't let go with a warning and that texting-while-driving has proven to be even more dangerous in some cases.

Source: WKBN, "Ohio's texting and driving ban sees mixed results" 3 March 2014

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