AAA Applauds Legislative Action to Prevent Distracted Driving in Ohio

Written by on May 6, 2021

House Bill 283 would make this dangerous driving behavior a primary offense

COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 6, 2021) – AAA applauds efforts by the Ohio legislature to curb distracted driving in Ohio with the introduction of a proposal to make the dangerous driving behavior a primary offense.

House Bill 283, introduced by Representatives Cindy Abrams (R-District 29) and Brian Lampton (R-Beavercreek), would make driving while handling any electronic wireless device a primary offense for adult drivers and increase fines for drivers who habitually use devices while driving. In cases where a driver using a device causes serious injury or death, the penalties will mirror those of drunken driving.

Additionally, the proposal will allow a six-month warning period in which law enforcement would issue warnings instead of citations in order to educate the public on the dangers of distracted driving.

Distracted driving data:

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019 distracted driving crashes killed 3,142 people in the United States, an average of 9 deaths per day. That number was up 10% from the year before (2,839 deaths in 2018).

There were more than 91,000 distracted driving crashes throughout the state of Ohio from 2013 – 2019, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol. This resulted in more than 47,000 injuries and 305 deaths. Numbers are likely much higher than this, as distracted driving is vastly underreported.

“AAA commends the legislature for taking steps to make Ohio’s roads safer by providing officers with the necessary tools to stop distracted driving crashes before they happen,” says Kimberly Schwind, senior manager, public affairs for AAA Ohio Auto Club. “While this is a huge step forward, drivers still need to remember that hands-free isn’t risk- free and all distractions should be eliminated from their vehicles.”

Recently AAA released a new television public service announcement (PSA) that targets drivers who text while they are stopped at a red light or stop sign and highlights the “hangover effect” delay in which the mind stays distracted up to 27 seconds after interacting with a cell phone or technology. Link to Downloadable PSA: https://vimeo.com/531539280/742ac83387

AAA encourages all motorists to eliminate distracted driving by following these tips:

.Put it away. Place your mobile device out of sight to prevent temptation.

.Know where you’re going. If using a navigation system, program the destination before driving.

.Pull over. If you must call or text while on the road, pull off the road safely and stop first.

.Ask passengers for help. If riding with someone, seek their help to navigate, make a call or send a message.

.Be a good passenger. Speak out if the driver of your vehicle is distracted.

.Don’t be a distraction. Avoid calling or texting others when you know they are driving.

.Activate Do Not Disturb. Setting up this feature on iPhone or Android device will prevent calls from coming in while you’re driving.

Just as drivers need to pay attention, so do pedestrians and bicyclists. Never call, text or play games while walking or cycling.

For more information and to take the pledge to not drive while “Intexicated” visit aaa.com/dontdrivedistracted


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