Senate: Ohio one big step closer to texting/driving law

5:49 PM, May 3, 2012   |    comments
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COLUMBUS -- Ohio may be on the way to becoming the 38th state to ban while texting while driving. And it may be come the first state to outlaw beginning drivers from talking, texting or using any electronic device including GPS systems while on the road.

The Ohio Senate, which had many members balking at a talking and texting law, passed a version Thursday which now must return to the House for passage there.

Drivers under 18 cannot use cell phones, Ipads, Ipods or GPS systems while behind the wheel. The law would make it a primary offense that could bring a citation by itself.

The Senate bill also outlaws texting and driving for those over 18, but makes it a secondary offense. That means drivers must be stopped first for another violation.

The version the House passed makes the violation a primary offense.

Supporters say any law will save lives. Opponents called the law an attack on personal freedom. Some police groups said such laws would be difficult to enforce.

A first offense for young drivers could be a $150 fine and 60-day suspended license.

State Senator Tom Patton helped broker the compromise version in the Senate. 


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