In recent years, distracted driving has emerged as a major public safety threat in Ohio and around the nation. Yet, while distracted driving may be talked about as a clear danger like that of drunk driving, the laws have yet to catch up. As such, many innocent people are left vulnerable to being injured or even killed due to the negligence of people who simply can’t let a single text or phone call wait.
The Governors Highway Safety Association indicates that individual state laws on distracted driving vary greatly. While many states ban any handheld use of a mobile device, others have no such ban in place. Ohio’s approach is somewhere in the middle of these two.
According to the Ohio Administrative Code, all drivers are expressly prohibited from texting while driving. Across the nation, texting has taken much of the heat when it comes to distracted driving as this activity requires visual attention, mental cognition and physical action by a driver. It means a driver’s eyes, concentration and hands are all removed from the act of driving making it extremely dangerous.
Ohio does not, however, ban all handheld use of phones. Adult drivers are allowed to use their hands to dial numbers, look up contacts and answer or end phone calls. They can also use their hands on their phones for navigation purposes. It seems that lawmakers have not realized that many of these activities are akin to texting in the fact that they require mental, visual and physical attention from a driver.