If you didn't heed our warning before, do so now - today, following a six-month grace period, the law to ban texting while driving takes full effect in the state of Ohio.
Although the new law has its flaws, we believe, we are still behind the effort put forth by our state's leaders. Our idea is a more strict penalty, across the board, for all licensed drivers, should be enacted.
As it stands, drivers under the age of 18 suspected of texting or talking on a cell phone may be stopped by a police officer. There is no mandatory warning. Teens caught using any electronic wireless communications device while driving in the state, whether texting, sending an email or simply talking, face a $150 fine and a 60-day license suspension for the first offense. A second violation doubles the fine and extends the suspension to one year.
We believe the law for those drivers older than 18 needs more meat to it. You see, those drivers must first be stopped for a separate traffic violation, such as weaving or speeding, before any citation for the hand-held device may be levied. Adult drivers face a misdemeanour fine of up to $150.
Our advice would be to simply put that cell phone down while you are operating a motor vehicle. We're confident that call or that text can wait to be answered. If not, safely pull to the side of the road or find a parking lot and text to your heart's content.
Again, we urge all motorist to break the habit of using their hand-held devices while behind the wheel. It's too distracting and has proven to cause major injury -or worse - to the driver, the passengers and other motorists.
There are several slogans out there about the dangers of texting and driving. We'll share a simple one - Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks.