One of the biggest dangers on Ohio roadways is distracted driving. Drivers who are not paying attention to the road and are instead looking down at a handheld device can run through stop signs, ignore red lights, drift into different lanes, crash into pedestrians and cause other accidents.
Although it is known to be a problem, law enforcement is limited in what it can do even if they see a distracted driver. With the problem not going away, lawmakers may change the policy to address it and try to make the roads safer.
Potential new law would let police stop drivers solely for being distracted
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that approximately 3,000 people lose their lives annually because of distraction across the United States. Over the past decade in Ohio, there were more than 100,000 collisions because of distracted driving. More than 300 people were killed and there were over 47,000 injuries. This is sparking increased concern and may lead to a change in the law to let officers have greater leeway to stop distracted drivers and cite them.
Law enforcement is currently allowed to stop drivers who are 17 or younger simply for texting and driving. For people older than that, the stop cannot be made unless there was another legal violation.
If the proposal becomes law, the following would happen: adults could be stopped for holding a device while driving; drivers could have a hands-free device and would be limited to actions that require one swipe or one touch to use the phone; the driver’s race would be reported as part of the protocol; drivers would be given the option of a $150 fine or taking a course on distracted driving; and the fines would rise to $250 and $500 for second and third violations if they happen within two years of the first.
People impacted by a distracted driving accident may need help
Handheld devices are a primary cause of distracted driving accidents, but there are other ways drivers can lose focus on the road. That includes interacting with passengers, eating, drinking, using onboard maps and changing the radio. Even if the handheld device law is changed, there are still ways for people to be distracted. Many will likely ignore the law anyway.
After a collision, there can be hospitalizations, major medical costs, lost wages and other problems. People who have been hurt or lost a loved one must think about the future. Part of that is determining the cause of the accident and moving forward with a claim. Calling professionals who are experienced with auto accidents can be helpful from the start.