A bill to prohibit texting while driving in Ohio, which had been stalled in the Ohio Senate, may shift into action this week.
The bill to ban texting while driving, already passed by the House, is due for a third hearing Wednesday before the Highways and Transportation Committee. The reading of House Bill 99, sponsored by Reps. Rex Damshroder, R-Fremont, and Nancy Garland, D-New Albany, is set for 10:30 a.m. in the South Hearing Room of the Ohio Statehouse. The committee could vote on the bill or accept a substitute bill at the meeting.
Certainly, enactment of the ban would not eliminate the problem of driver inattention. There are many ways motorists can become distracted while driving: eating, drinking, chatting with passengers or fiddling with a music player, for example. But texting is a triple threat - it takes a motorist's eyes off the road, hands off the wheel and mind off driving.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration research shows drivers who send and receive text messages take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds while texting. At 55 miles per hour, this means the driver is traveling the length of a football field, including the end zones, without looking at the road.
The administration also found drivers who send or receive text messages while driving are more than 20 times more likely to get in an accident than non-distracted drivers.
Let's hope Highways and Transportation Committee members get this message during the hearing: When driving, there's no such thing as safe text.