Council one step closer to approving texting while driving ban

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19)  - Cincinnati is one step closer to having a ban on texting while driving in the city. Council gave preliminary approval to a ban this afternoon.

The council is not the only one who want texting banned while driving. Texting can cause accidents said Doug Loughhead, manager of the AAA Driving School.

"We tell them not to do it," said Loughhead. "And we still know that they do it."

Loughead teaches both the young and the older how to drive. Instructors created a lesson plan four years ago to keep up with the digital rules on the road.

"One second looking at a message that you have to look at to send back, you're not looking at the road, and you're in trouble," said Loughead.

Jenny Summerford admits she has texted while driving. Summerford almost crashed her car on at least one occasion because she was texting.

"I was coming home from college and I was texting a friend and I was driving by a house that had a brick mailbox and I almost ran into it," said Summerford.

Council member Chris Bortz is sponsoring a ban on texting while driving in the city.

"Parents, I think in particular, would like to be able to point to the law and say it's illegal. Please don't do that. It's dangerous," said Bortz. "Sometimes the illegal argument has a better impact with teenagers."

Wednesday, council gave the ban its first green light. Council member Chris Monzel was the only member who voted against the measure on Wednesday.

Still, the ban isn't final. The City Manager's office will have to research whether it could work here. Council members on the law committee will write an official ordinance. Members will then vote again in August, and if it passes then, the ban will become law.

Cincinnati's ban is based on one just put in place in Columbus. That ban allows police to pull over motorists they suspect of texting while driving, but here's the catch: there's no law against dialing while driving. That means police have to ask drivers if they were texting.

"I think over time the police will be able to stop them more readily as they really look for text messengers and they'll see that they're maybe waving down the road a little bit," said Loughead.

Kentucky already has a statewide ban on texting while driving. Ohio is considering a statewide ban, as well.

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