Ohio distracted driving laws: Is there room for improvement?

Ohio has lenient distracted driving laws when compared to many other states in the nation, and some have suggested enacting stricter laws.

Many states in the nation have strict laws regarding cellphone use while driving. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 46 states ban drivers from texting and driving, and 14 states prohibit drivers from talking on a hand-held cellphone while behind the wheel. Although Ohio has some laws restricting drivers' cellphone use, many people believe that there is much room for improvement when it comes to controlling this serious form of driver distraction.

Current Ohio cellphone laws

Ohio has a law banning novice drivers from using any type of cellular device, according to Distraction.gov. In addition, drivers are banned from texting and driving, but only as a secondary offense. This means that law enforcement officers cannot pull a driver over and issue them a citation for texting and driving unless that motorist has committed another driving offense.

The dangers of distracted driving

While some motorists may feel as though they are able to drive safely while using their cellphones, statistics show otherwise. Distraction.gov reported that 424,000 people across the country were seriously injured and another 3,154 people were killed in car accidents involving distracted drivers. Studies show that even talking on a hands free cellular device is a significant form of distraction, and should be avoided while driving.

The three major forms of distraction include:

• Manual distractions: Tasks that make the driver remove his or her hands from the steering wheel, such as reaching for an object, texting or changing the radio station.

• Visual distractions: Tasks that require the driver to take his or her eyes off of the road, like looking through the glove box or texting.

• Cognitive distractions: Tasks that cause a driver to remove his or her concentration off of driving, such as engaging in a conversation on the phone or talking to other passengers in the vehicle.

All of these distractions can be deadly. Some activities, like texting and talking on a hand-held cellphone, involve more than one type of distraction. This makes them especially dangerous to drivers.

Enacting stricter laws

In an attempt to lower the number of distracted driving car accidents, injuries and deaths that occur in the state, Ohio lawmakers introduced three bills into the Ohio General Assembly earlier this year, according to Cleveland.com. One of the bills would make texting and driving a primary offense if passed, which would enable officers to pull over and cite drivers who are committing the offense.

Dealing with life after a tragic car accident

If you have been victimized by a distracted driver in Akron or anywhere else in Ohio, you may want to contact a personal injury attorney regarding your rights. You may be entitled to receive compensation for your property damage, medical expenses, emotional trauma and lost wages from work.