We have all heard about the devastation that texting and driving can cause, and some people have experienced it firsthand. In Ohio, it is illegal for residents to text while driving for the purpose of keeping our roads safe and preventing serious car accidents. Those who are caught doing so can face fines and other penalties. What happens, however, if a police officer texts and drives while someone is in their backseat? As was recently discovered in Cuyahoga County, nothing.
Police and law enforcement officials are exempt from the rule that bars texting and driving. This came to light when a Cuyahoga County man accused a Linndale officer of texting while he drove the man to the police station after impounding his car for having a fictitious plate.
The Cleveland man said that he noticed the officer texting as he drove them down I-71. The man says he felt unsafe. He told Fox 8 that he wanted to say something to the officer but wasn't sure if it was the right thing to do. Instead, he snapped a picture with his cellphone.
The news report says that the picture shows that the officer was driving faster than 40 mph. The officer, however, claimed to not remember whether he was driving or stopped when he was using his phone. He said he was using his cellphone to look up directions to the police station. The police chief said the officer will not face any discipline.
Even though texting and driving is legal for law enforcement officials, it is not any less dangerous when a police officer does it. In the midst of this issue, state Senator Tom Patton urged everyone, law enforcement officials included, to avoid texting and driving. Hopefully drivers in Cuyahoga County and throughout the state will heed to his warnings. It could go a long way toward keeping our roads safe.
Source: Fox 8 Cleveland, "I-Team Confronts Police About Texting Officer," Peggy Sinkovich, Nov. 7, 2012