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Ohio cities consider tougher texting bans
Akron is among those who say the new state law falls short

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
Akron Councilman Mike Williams wants adults to live by the same texting rules as kids.
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Ohio banned texting while driving last year. But Akron is among the cities who think the new state law falls short. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports that the city is considering its own stricter ban.

SCHULTZE: Akron considers going further than state law

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Ohio’s law bans most cell phone use by teens.  Akron Councilman Mike Williams supports that, and so would a change he’s proposing in city law.

What concerns him is what the law says about adults – especially about enforcement.

For adults, the state law lists texting as a secondary offense,  meaning police officers can only cite someone for texting if they’ve pulled someone over for another reason. Williams wants Akron – like Cincinnati – to make it a primary offense because he says kids aren’t the only ones who are not focused behind the wheel.

 “A lot of people of all ages are texting while driving and we need to address that because it is a very serious safety issue. Once you’ve had a serious accident, once someone is dead, I’m sorry is not good enough. We need to change this behavior.”

Williams expects police officers will act on tips, as well as their own observations.

“Very clearly, you can tell when someone is texting. A number of people have approached me where they have observed people texting while they’re in the car. So it is a behavior that is discernible from other behaviors.”

According to the Ohio Municipal League, state law leaves it up to cities to be tougher than the state law so long as they don’t conflict with state law, and dozens of cities have or are considering tougher bans.


Listener Comments:

The CDC just reported that 60% of older teens routinely Text and Drive. I think its starting to become clear that legislation has value in raising public awareness in forums like this one but it will be difficult to solely legislate our way out of this issue. I also read that over 3/4 of teens text daily - many text more than 4000 times a month. New college students no longer have email addresses! They use texting and Facebook - even with their professors. Tweens (ages 9 -12) send texts to each other from their bikes.

I decided to do something about distracted driving after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver. Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user, I built a texting asset called OTTER that is a simple and intuitive GPS based, texting auto reply app for smartphones. While driving, OTTER silences those distracting call ringtones and chimes unless a bluetooth is enabled. The texting auto reply allows anyone to schedule a ‘texting blackout period’ in any situation like a meeting or a lecture without feeling disconnected. This software is a social messaging tool for the end user that also empowers this same individual to be a sustainably safer driver.

Erik Wood, owner
do one thing well... be great.

Posted by: Erik Wood (Seattle, WA) on January 17, 2013 8:01AM
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