A number of Ohio cities, including Toledo, prohibit motorists from sending and reading text messages while they drive. The logical next step is a statewide ban on the dangerous practice.
A bill before the state House of Representatives would add Ohio to the majority of states with texting bans on their books. The measure, which largely mirrors Toledo’s ban, would make texting while driving a primary offense and minor misdemeanor. Motorists who type, send, read, or answer text messages could be stopped by police and fined as much as $150.
The legislation would establish a six-month grace period for transition and public education. But the distraction caused by texting while driving is a threat to public safety that the state must address aggressively.
Americans send 110 billion text messages a month, according to the cell phone industry. The activity has become increasingly prevalent among motorists, especially young drivers.
The danger of a driver attempting to steer and type simultaneously is real to everyone who shares Ohio roads. Local bans on texting protect the motoring public in their areas.
But a statewide prohibition against texting drivers, effectively publicized and enforced, would be a stronger deterrent to the risky distraction.