Texting While Driving Ban Aims To Save Lives

By
Michael Locklear

Dateline
Updated Thu, Aug 30, 2012 2:47 pm

Ohio's ban on texting while driving takes effect Friday.

Students at an Columbus-area high school got the low-down on the law from AAA, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and others.
 
Also there was Licking County resident Gayemarie Long.
 
Her son was riding in a car with a driver who was texting.
 
That led to a crash and Long's son was killed instantly.
 
“There is no message that is important enough that it takes a life -- yours or someone else's,” says Long.
 
Starting Friday, minors are not allowed to use any handheld electronic devices while behind the wheel.
 
That includes making and receiving phone calls.
 
Adults are simply banned from texting.
 
“A driver who takes their eyes off the road for just two seconds actually doubles the risk of crashing, but when you text and drive, you take your eyes off of the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. That's long enough to go the length of a football field if you're traveling at 55 miles an hour,” says Kimberly Schwind of AAA Ohio Auto Club.
 
The message was clear: don't text and drive, it's dangerous.
 
But, some students said their classmates will still do it.
 
How many, though?
 
“I think it's probably about half and half. I don't know if a lot of people realize how important not texting and driving is. So I think a lot of teenagers feel that nobody can tell them what's right, and that teenagers know best, but we obviously don't,” said McKenna Moore, a high school student.
 
Long, who lost her son, said she thinks the ban will reduce the number of crashes in the Buckeye state.
 
“But I'm hoping that just like with drunk driving, people become more aware of it and will heed... not doing texting while driving,” said Long.
 
A six-month warning period starts Friday.
 
After that, adults caught texting can be fined up to $150.
 
Minors can be fined and also lose their license for 60 days.
 
Ohio is the 39th state to ban texting while driving.
 
Michael Locklear is a fellow in Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Statehouse News Bureau.
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