Local Residents Have Mixed Reactions About Statewide Texting Ban

By
Sandhya Kambhampati
WOUB Staff Writer

Dateline
Updated Tue, Jun 5, 2012 12:36 am
Local residents have mixed reactions about a statewide texting ban that was signed into law on Friday.
 
The ban, which prohibits writing, reading and sending texts from behind the wheel, is intended to prevent accidents caused by drivers who get distracted while reading or writing a text message. 
 

Angie McCutcheon, of Waterford, OH, said her son was recently a passenger in such an accident. 

"His friend was texting while he was riding with him, and he hit a 17-year-old girl, broke her arm, put her in the hospital," she said.

McCutcheon said she thinks the law was in protecting all drivers. 
 
The ban calls for a stricter crackdown on drivers under the age of 18, who would receive a primary offense for texting or using of other portable electronic devices.
 
This is troubling to some teens, like 19-year-old Jennifer Miller. 
 
"I don't necessarily find it okay that teens are being looked at more, because adults are just as much responsible," said Miller. "I think it is actually a good law to pass because I think it's going to save a lot of troubles that are going on."

Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly said cell phone use while driving is a problem in the county, especially among the younger generation.

Kelly said he thinks it's a good idea to have harsher rules in place for teens.

"This will allow that person under 18 years old to gain some experience behind the wheel before they turn 18, and I think that's a good thing," he said.

The law will recognize texting as a secondary offense for adult drivers, meaning that they could be ticketed only if they were pulled over for a traffic offense such running a red light.

Becky Wagner, a 20-year-old student, says she thinks it's important for teens to recognize the severity of the problem that texting while driving can cause. 

"Teens need to learn earlier that their texting should not happen," said Wagner. "I have so many friends that have gotten into accidents because of texting, and it's almost always involved when you hear something in the news nowadays."

The ban has exemptions, including the use of a cell phone in an emergency, when a person's vehicle is stationary, when using a hands-free navigation device and if the person doesn't manipulate the device while driving.

The ban will take effect at the end of August.

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