Banning texting while driving…

Ohio is among the states whose legislatures are considering banning the act of texting while driving.  H.B. No. 415 has passed the House of Representatives and is now in the Senate.  Today’s student-run University of Cincinnati newspaper, the News Record, contains two pieces condemning passage of such a bill, one of which is available at I can appreciate the opinion of those who think such a law would be ineffective, I cannot condone any who find the practice itself unobjectionable.  Talking on a cell phone while driving is bad enough, as it takes your ears and a good part of your concentration off the task at hand – driving.  Texting then takes your eyes out of the driving equation as well.  How many of us would intentionally drive for several seconds with our eyes closed?

I have no quarrel with making the act of either talking on a phone or texting while driving a traffic offense, but I think the legislature should be thinking more creatively.  Perhaps putting a financial burden on this offense would be more effective, and putting a driver’s insurance premiums at risk would be most effective of all.  I suggest that all legislatures considering banning phoning or texting while driving add this statute to their laws:

“In any civil action for damages arising out of the operation of a motor vehicle, if the operator of the vehicle was texting with an electronic device or using a hand-held telephone while operating the vehicle, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the operator was acting in a negligent manner.  The introduction of evidence that the operator was texting with an electronic device or using a hand-held telephone while operating the vehicle shall establish a prima facie case that the operator was acting in a negligent manner.”  Torts specialists, I invite you to clean up my language.

One thought on “Banning texting while driving…

  1. I decided to do something about teen distracted driving after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me last fall by a texting driver. That incident changed me but I don’t hate texting. The way I see it, that would be like hating nightfall – its coming no matter what. 72% of teens text every single day – some over 3000 times a month. The texting drivers I spoke with, including teens and truckers, all said that laws and Big Brother type software devices that “lock down” their phones would not deter them at all. They feel their civil liberties slipping away. So I built a tool called OTTER for the individual to help manage their texting on their terms.

    In response to the epidemic of teen texting and driving, we started our Break the Habit Campaign ( ) to raise awareness of this problem thereby educating us all of the dangers. Did you know that 50% of teens interviewed admitted to texting while driving? If 50% admitted to it…how many are actually doing it?

    Erik Wood, owner

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