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Ohio lawmakers should pass ban on texting drivers

April 7, 2012
Salem News

With enactment this winter of a law banning "texting" while driving in West Virginia, Ohio became surrounded by states with laws against the practice. Yet Buckeye State legislators seem unable to bring themselves to do the right thing.

Thirty-six states have statutes prohibiting use by motorists of cellular phones or other devices to send text messages. The bans were approved because texting is a prime example of "distracted driving." It is dangerous to both drivers who engage in it and others on our streets and highways.

It has been suggested for several years that Ohio should follow other states in enacting a law against texting. Last summer the state House of Representatives approved such action by a lopsided 88-10 vote.

But a similar measure is stalled in the state Senate. Reportedly, leaders there are determined to keep the bill bottled up.

There is no good reason for that. Other than fear of alienating irresponsible drivers who are hooked on texting, there is no reason of any kind.

How badly is a texting ban needed in Ohio? Consider a recent study by the University of Texas that found 16,141 Americans died in accidents caused by texting during the past six years.

Some researchers have concluded texting is more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol.

Law enforcement agencies want a texting ban. Insurance companies say it would reduce the toll of deaths, injuries and property damage caused by texting drivers. Most members of the public seem to agree with a ban.

So why aren't state Senate leaders proceeding with it?

That's a good question - to which there is no acceptable answer. Ohioans should demand the state Senate approve a ban on texting while driving.



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