New distracted driving bill would make Ohio a hands-free state

New distracted driving bill would make Ohio a hands-free state

A state lawmaker has introduced a bill that focuses on texting and driving and would make Ohio a hands-free state.State Rep. Cincy Abrams (R-Harrison) proposed the bill to expand current language in Ohio regarding texting and driving.Ohio State Highway Patrol stated that from 2013 through 2019, more than 91,000 distracted driving crashes happened throughout the state causing 47,000 injuries and 305 deaths.“A recent survey found that distracted driving is overwhelmingly the number one concern for Ohio drivers,” Abrams said. “The goal of this bill is to make our state a safer place to travel and reduce the amount of deaths and injuries on our roads.”The bill would prohibit people from holding or physically supporting a cellphone while driving. If passed, the legislation, which would make holding your phone while driving a primary offense, gives police the authority to pull you over for that reason alone.There are currently 44 states across the nation that have passed various distracted driving laws, according to Abrams.An Ohio organization showed its support for the newly introduced piece of distracted driving legislation. Fix Our Roads Ohio held a virtual news conference on the bill Monday.Advocates say laws that only ban texting while driving are challenging for police to enforce. They say this legislation would change that."By upgrading to the hands-free law, that is getting the phone totally out of their hand, so it doesn't matter if they're dialing, if they're using GPS or anything," said Jennifer Smith, a distracted driving laws advocate. "The phone cannot be in your hand or on your body which enables enforcement to then not have to worry about any gray areas."The law would have exceptions. You can still use your GPS, but you must enter your destination before you start driving and if your phone is mounted in your car, you can swipe to answer calls or hang up.

A state lawmaker has introduced a bill that focuses on texting and driving and would make Ohio a hands-free state.

State Rep. Cincy Abrams (R-Harrison) proposed the bill to expand current language in Ohio regarding texting and driving.

Ohio State Highway Patrol stated that from 2013 through 2019, more than 91,000 distracted driving crashes happened throughout the state causing 47,000 injuries and 305 deaths.

“A recent survey found that distracted driving is overwhelmingly the number one concern for Ohio drivers,” Abrams said. “The goal of this bill is to make our state a safer place to travel and reduce the amount of deaths and injuries on our roads.”

The bill would prohibit people from holding or physically supporting a cellphone while driving. If passed, the legislation, which would make holding your phone while driving a primary offense, gives police the authority to pull you over for that reason alone.

There are currently 44 states across the nation that have passed various distracted driving laws, according to Abrams.

An Ohio organization showed its support for the newly introduced piece of distracted driving legislation. Fix Our Roads Ohio held a virtual news conference on the bill Monday.

Advocates say laws that only ban texting while driving are challenging for police to enforce. They say this legislation would change that.

"By upgrading to the hands-free law, that is getting the phone totally out of their hand, so it doesn't matter if they're dialing, if they're using GPS or anything," said Jennifer Smith, a distracted driving laws advocate. "The phone cannot be in your hand or on your body which enables enforcement to then not have to worry about any gray areas."

The law would have exceptions. You can still use your GPS, but you must enter your destination before you start driving and if your phone is mounted in your car, you can swipe to answer calls or hang up.