Proposed law would stiffen penalty for texting while driving

Proposed law would stiffen penalty for texting while driving
(FOX19 NOW file)

Ohio's texting and driving laws could be changing.

A proposal in the Ohio House would make texting and driving a primary offense for all drivers.

Currently, it is only a primary offense for drivers under 18 and a secondary offense for adults.

The bill also would make it illegal to use any electronic device in school and construction zones.

The changes are part of House Bill 637 sponsored by Rep. Rex Damschroder (R-Fremont). He sponsored Ohio's original texting bill in 2012.

"In that bill, I wrote texting as a primary offense and it passed the House that way. Senate watered it down and took the teeth out of the enforcement," said Damschroder. "Studies show that states that have a primary offense see a 3% reduction in fatalities on the roadways."

Damschroder introduced the bill last month, but there are currently no plans for a vote. He is not running for re-election so he said time is running out to get the bill passed.

Some worry the legislation lacks legs.

The group "Ohio Watchdog" says the state's current texting law isn't effective.

Since taking effect in March 2013, the State Highway Patrol has only written 440 tickets.

A big part of that, they say is because it's difficult for troopers to prove drivers were actually texting, and not doing something else like dialing a number.

There are after market devices that allow for heads-up-display while driving, as seen in the video below:

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