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What drivers need to know about the texting while driving ban

Staff Writer

Published: Friday, March 1, 2013

Updated: Friday, March 1, 2013 13:03

  The no-texting-while-driving law took effect in Ohio on Aug. 31 but a six-month grace period was established before the law could be actively enforced. Drivers, especially those under the age of 18, will begin to experience the full effect of this law starting March 1.

  “The texting law applies to all drivers in Ohio, but there are different stipulations for drivers under the age of 18,” said New Concord Chief of Police Trevor Hayes. “A six month grace period was written into the law where enforcement law would not issue citations for this offence.”

  According to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, the new stipulations ban the use of any kind of electronic wireless communication device for Ohio drivers who are under the age of eighteen.

   “Ohio legislatures felt this was an issue by looking at statistics of crashes involving distracted drivers using cell phones and felt this law had to be in place,” said Hayes.

  The new and more strict stipulations of the no texting while driving law were put in place to protect the age group of people who are most likely to text while driving. Hayes believes that drivers of all ages would or have texted while driving, but it is more common for the age group that grew up with these pieces of technology.

  The people who enforce the no texting while driving law are putting policies into place in order for them to act as role models for other drivers.

  “Law enforcement, while in a public safety vehicle, is not held to this law,” said Hayes. “However, we don’t want to abuse it either. Communications are an important part of what we do each day and we currently have a policy that is advised against sending texted messages while driving.”

  The no texting while driving stipulations will prevent drivers from exercising poor judgment and receiving a serious injury or dying in a car crash.

  “I feel that crashes will be decreased when drivers become more aware of the law and put their phones away,” said Hayes.

  The consequences of texting while driving are usually less contemplated by young people. They feel a false sense of security and invincibility at the wheel and do not realize how vulnerable they are to a car crash as a result of distracted driving.

  “Many people have become so comfortable behind the wheel that they feel they can multi-task while driving and they have not had an accident before and think they will be fine every time,”  said Hayes.

  According to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, texting while driving takes your eyes off the road way for about five seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like going the length of a football field with your eyes closed.

  “I don’t think many people think they will cause an accident, but can you speak for that other distracted driver who pulls out in front of you while you are sending that text?” said Hayes. “We need to be cautious and responsible for not only ourselves, but for others on the road as well.”

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