Weak Texting Ban Leads To Weak Enforcement


This August 31, 2012, story from WXIX-TV, FOX 19, discusses Ohio’s new texting ban the day it went into effect. Captain Russ Neville, Commander of Cincinnati Police District No. 3, told FOX 19, “We will enforce the law as it’s written and we will, if we see a violation, and opportunity allows us to go forward with that violation, we’ll do so.”

Unfortunately, that comment reflects many of the concerns we have expressed in previous blog posts about the texting ban. While Ohio legislators may have had the best intentions in passing the law to help reduce the number of distracted driving accidents, the Columbus Dispatch reported on September 17, 2012, that the differing standards for drivers of different ages poses problems for allowing police to go forward with said violations.

“It’s almost an impossible law to enforce,” Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey told the Dispatch. “I pass your car on the highway, and I have a split-second to decide: texting or dialing, 17 or 18 (years old)?”

The Dispatch noted that the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) says Ohio—and all other states—need to enact stricter laws that prohibit the use of any hand-held electronic device while behind the wheel. While Ohio became the 39th state to ban texting while driving, West Virginia will become only the 10th state to ban all hand-held devices on July 1, 2013.

Furthermore, many drivers are already learning to exploit loopholes in the new Ohio law. While the ban prohibits typing, sending or reading text messages, it does not ban cell phone conversations.

“People will say, ‘Oh, I’m dialing,’ and that’s legal,” GHSA spokesman Jonathan Adkins told the Dispatch. “By having the hand-held ban, it helps out law enforcement.”

The Ohio texting ban was a good first step toward eliminating this highly dangerous activity, but there is still more work that needs to be done if we are to eliminate crashes caused by cell phone usage while driving. More information about serious car accidents can be found on our website, and you may be entitled to compensation if you or a loved one has sustained serious injuries in an crash caused by a distracted driver. You can fill out the form on this page to let our Cincinnati injury lawyers review your case or you can contact our firm today at (513) 232-2000 to set up a free consultation.

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