New safety guidelines proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation for Ohio drivers and their peers across the country will serve "to balance the innovation consumers want with the safety we all need," says DOT Secretary Ray LaHood.
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.
Ohio House Bill 99 bans texting while driving and will become law if it passes the Ohio Senate and is signed by Gov. John Kasich. Thirty-four other states have already enacted such legislation , based on strong and sobering empirical evidence that many thousands of fatal car accidents are caused in the United States each year by people texting, reading or otherwise being distracted while driving.
Due to a recent federal investigation into a commercial truck accident that caused the death of 11 people, truck drivers may no longer have use of their cell phones while on the job except in the case of an emergency. In a 2010 accident in Kentucky, a commercial truck collided with a passenger van carrying 15 people. Ten of the van occupants died, as did the truck driver.
Between August and October each year, especially in the early morning hours, and particularly around 7 a.m. there is a recurring constant throughout Ohio: car accidents with teen drivers behind the wheel.
Thirty states and Washington, D.C., have a texting-while-driving ban that it is believed serves as a strong deterrent to irresponsible behavior and greatly reduces tragic outcomes from car accidents and roadway fatalities.
You know all those bans and taboos associated with teen drivers, i.e., those proscriptions that most adult drivers know intuitively are well-placed when it comes to curbing car accidents involving new and inexperienced drivers? The list is bandied about with great frequency, recited by everyone from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to researchers linked to myriad traffic safety studies. It includes no talking on cell phones, no texting, limits on the number of passengers and a host of other "nos" -- in short, its aim and intended reach is no distractions while driving, period.
Just as motorists in other states across the country are doing, drivers in Ohio, too, are increasingly embracing new vehicle technologies that are emerging to help distracted drivers improve their odds of survival while on the road. The makers of these products stand by their wares and claim that they are working, stating that highway fatalities and car accidents are going down as on-board employment of high-tech voice-activated and other systems is increasing.