Local leaders of mixed opinion on new texting ban

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) – Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a bill outlawing text messaging while driving Friday.

The law prohibits all adult drivers from reading, writing or sending text messages from behind the wheel. It is a secondary offense though, so police have to ticket you for another offense first, then add the citation for texting on top of that.

For teen drivers the law is enforced differently. It bans all electronic device usage for drivers under the age eighteen, including talking on a cell phone. It is a primary offense for teen drivers, so law enforcement can pull a young driver over for using a mobile phone while driving.

Some state leaders opposed the bill saying its scope was not broad enough to cover all distracted driving.

"What this legislation does is it pulls out just one of the things that's distracting, and says that this is what's causing the lion's share of the problem. This is our big elephant in the room so to speak," said state representative Barbara Sears.

Most can agree, though, that the sacrifice of putting their phone down should help make Ohio roads safer.

"I have never heard anyone say 'I'm not unhappy about the fact that I lost a loved one because of the person texting. That person should be allowed to text because that's a freedom," said Toledo City Councilman D. Michael Collins.

Sergeant Shane Johnson with the Ohio State Highway Patrol says despite the complexity of the law, officers will be ready when it takes effect.

"Obviously there will be a learning curve, the law is fresh today and there is a time period before it goes into effect plus there will probably be a six month window from what I understand from reading in the law about when enforcement will take effect. It will give everybody time to get on the same page and learn about what the law is about and what our rules of engagement will be for enforcing this type of law," said Johnson.

The texting ban takes effect August 30.

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