ACTION ALERT: Support Strong Distracted Driving Laws

Last week, The Ohio House passed an amended version of a distracted driving bill that would make using a phone while driving a primary offense rather than a secondary offense. Under the current law, officers are not able to stop a driver for texting or using their mobile device while driving, nor issue a citation, unless local municipalities have passed harsher laws.

This bill finally gives officers the authority to stop a driver who is driving while using their cellphone.

However, HB283 includes a laundry list of exemptions that take away from the purpose of the bill: to keep our roads safe for everyone. The most alarming of these broadened exemptions include:

  • When the car is stationary, including when stopped at red lights
  • If the driver is holding the phone against their ear

We are urging the Ohio Senate to move the bill forward without the lax and negligent amendments that allow for drivers to text while at a stop light and drive with their phones to their ears.

Distracted driving is a major issue across the nation, and is especially rampant in Cuyahoga County. In 2021, there were 1,040 distracted driving-related crashes in Cuyahoga County – the highest in the state. As bicycle riders and pedestrians, we have all seen firsthand how distracted driving can make our roads unpredictable and scary. Alongside improved road design, this bill is just one tool we can use to make our roads safer.

Contact State Senators in the Senate Judiciary Committee and ask them to pass Substitute House Bill 283 with fewer exemptions.