Ohio Senators Thursday voted to outlaw texting while driving for adults and ban drivers younger than 18 from using any kind of hand-held devices, including phones or tablets, while behind the wheel.
The bill still needs House approval and must be signed by Gov. John Kasich, but if it goes through, the ban on teens using mobile devices while driving will be a primary offense, reports the Columbus Dispatch
This means police can pull over and cite teen drivers using hand-held devices, without needing another offense, such as speeding, as a reason for the traffic stop.
Texting while driving for adults would be a secondary offense, however. Teens will still be allowed to use Bluetooth devices or other methods to use their mobile phones, just as long as they don’t hold them while driving.
Republican Sen. Tom Patton, who has been pushing for the texting bill, said the rule would make driving in Ohio safer. He noted that Ohio’s seat belt use rate grew to more than 85 percent after the state ruled to make driving without one a secondary offense.
“It’s not just your own civil liberties,” he said. “When you cause an accident, now your ill-advised activity has killed or seriously hurt somebody else.”
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