H.B. 99: Texting Ban in Ohio is Coming


I am a proponent of a texting ban in Ohio. As a civil libertarian, I tend to be against laws that tell us how to live our daily lives; however, texting while driving is just one of those activities that needs criminalized. It is just way too dangerous to the rest of us if you are looking at your phone while traveling the length of a football field in less than 3 seconds.

H.B. 99 passed the Ohio House already this year. The Senate Transporation Committee now has it. Testimony will be taken this Wednesday. 34 states already have a state wide texting while driving ban. According to some studies, a texting driver's reaction time is much slower than the motorist high on marijuana. This is hard to believe, but there is at least one study that finds texting while driving even more dangerous than DUI. Of course there are many variables attendant within each dangerous activity.

I also agree with making texting while driving a primary offense that will allow police officers to pull us over if they see us engaged in this activity. The key will be what specifically the statute prohibits -- just texting or other activities that can be done on a PDA or cell phone (i.e. looking at a GPS map on the phone, checking email).

Writing, enforcing, and prosecuting these cases will be subject to a dangerous level of officer discretion. Too much discretion on the part of police officers tends to lead to tales police abuse and misconduct.

Nonetheless, HB 99 is a positive step in the right direction.