EAST LIVERPOOL-House Bill 99 took effect on Friday, officially making it illegal for motorists to text and drive in Ohio.
The bill reads: "No person shall drive a motor vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar on any street, highway, or property open to the public for vehicular traffic while using a handheld electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication."
The statewide ban makes Ohio the 39th state to ban texting while driving. The bill was signed by Governor Kasich in June 2012; however, it is just now beginning to be enforced after a six-month grace period, according to a AAA press release. The bill provisions that the ban may only be enforced on a secondary basis, meaning that another traffic violation must occur before a motorist can be cited.
House Bill 99 includes special provisions for drivers under 18. Young drivers are forbidden from using their phone in any manner-not just texting but talking on the phone as well. These extra strict rules for inexperienced drivers were added to the bill by Senator Tom Patton, according to AAA.
Students at East Liverpool High School seemed to support the texting ban.
"I think it's a good idea because it's very unsafe to text and drive," said Morgan Campbell, a senior, who added "I think it took too long" to enact the law.
The AAA Traffic Safety Foundation found that taking one's eyes off the road for more than two seconds doubles one's risk of having a crash. Students at East Liverpool High school appeared to be familiar with the dangers associated with texting while driving.
"If you take your eyes off the road for one second anything could happen," said Andrew Arcuragi, a senior. "A lot of people have suffered because of other people's mistakes, especially texting."
When asked if they ever texted while driving the students were honest: "Everyone has before," said Arcuragi, with others agreeing they too have texted and drove on occasion.
AAA announced that it will begin an advertisement campaign featuring billboards reading "dnt txt n drv,"as an appeal to youthful drivers to not text and drive.
Students seemed to be in agreement that the obvious dangers posed by texting and driving were a more effective deterrent than any add campaign. They even cited one incident which occurred in the driveway leading out of the school, where a student rear ended a school bus because he was preoccupied with texting.
When asked if the new law will prevent them from texting while driving, the upperclassmen responded they never really texted while driving to begin with, because they knew the danger it involves.
"I don't really text and drive much anyway," said Andrew Martin, a senior.