Drivers might be pulled over by police in some instances solely for holding or utilizing a cellphone whereas driving below laws that the Republican-led Ohio House passed Wednesday.
The invoice to crack down on distracted driving would stiffen penalties for texting whereas driving and put stricter limits on how an individual can use a cellphone whereas working a automobile.
Ohio legislation presently prohibits texting whereas driving however permits drivers to carry their telephones throughout a name and manually press buttons or screens to make these calls. The proposal would prohibit drivers from “utilizing, holding, or bodily supporting” such a tool, with some exceptions, corresponding to if they’re stopped at a purple gentle, utilizing a speakerphone operate with out holding the cellphone, or holding a cellphone to their ears for a name however not utilizing texting or typing capabilities.
Violations would develop into a major offense somewhat than a secondary offense, meaning a police officer might situation a ticket for that violation without having another excuse to cease a driver.
Republican Rep. Invoice Seitz, who proposed including the exceptions about utilizing units at stoplights or held to the ear for calls, defended these amendments by saying that individuals “don’t see by way of their ears” however their eyes, and in contrast the act to listening to the radio whereas driving.
Democrats questioned the amendments, saying what was handed does not go far sufficient and is not really a “hands-free” measure.
Invoice analysts identified that current Ohio law “is silent” with regards to new cellphone makes use of which have develop into part of on a regular basis life because the pandemic, corresponding to attending digital conferences. The present legislation additionally doesn’t present instruction for makes use of corresponding to livestreaming or recording video.
The invoice will go to the Senate subsequent. GOP Senate President Matt Huffman stated he isn’t in favor of the invoice, however would enable it to return to a vote if fellow Republican lawmakers overwhelmingly present help.
Republican Gov. Mike DeWine had supported the laws. His spokesperson, Dan Tierney, stated the invoice’s passage within the Home is a “nice step ahead” towards saving extra lives and making Ohio roads safer.