Legislators in Ohio are attempting to regulate and control distracted driving violations. A recent bill introduced by Republican Senators has been criticized as very lenient on individuals who endanger others by driving while distracted.
The bill, introduced by Sen. Jim Hughes and Bill Seits, is written so that a distracted driver who is pulled over and cited for a traffic violation, can also be cited for a $100 distracted driving penalty in addition to the original penalty.
The fine is secondary, however, and drivers who are not pulled over first for a traffic violation cannot be fined for distracted driving; drivers must get into trouble on a separate charge.
Residents throughout the state are speaking out about how the lenient distracted driving bill fails to protect members of the public.
The Criminal Justice Committee heard testimony from individuals who believe that the act of driving while distracted is itself a violation, rather than merely an enhancement.
The issue surrounds whether distracted driving is a traffic offense if it is not accompanied by another violation. Ohio legislators and members of the public seem to be on opposite sides of the debate.
The bill is still under discussion and it remains to be seen if further revisions can bring the two sides together.
Distracted Driving Laws
Ohio is not alone in attempting to regulate distracted driving on the roads. States all over the country are attempting to figure out precisely how to regulate new technologies that make distracted driving more likely and far easier.
States have wrestled with regulating hand-held devices, cell phones, text messaging and now, even smart watches.
The biggest issue is that the technology has far outpaced the laws and regulations we have available.
The Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that more than 38 states have some restrictions on cell phone use, although no state has an outright ban on cell phone use.
Additionally, the association reports that at least 14 states prohibit drivers from using hand-held devices.
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