Will New Law Actually Help Reduce Texting While Driving?


Olivia Hood

Will New Law Actually Help Reduce Texting While Driving?


As it has become common knowledge, distracted driving is a potent issue across the United States, causing countless crashes and ending thousands of lives. Many state governments have recognized this, and are now taking legal action against it, in the hopes of preventing future crashes. Ohio is no exception to this, but will this new law actually help?

In early January, and WSAZ news reports, Governor Mike Dewine signed Senate Bill 288, making it a law. This bill makes it a primary offense, or an offense in which a law officer may stop a vehicle in order to issue a citation, to be using a cell phone or other form of electronic communication while driving. This, in association, allows law enforcement to act upon any violation of this new law that they may see. 

This new law, while being applicable to everyone, specifically targets younger drivers, aged 15-20, in which the CDC shares are involved in the majority of distracted driving cases. This, however, doesn’t mean they were responsible for these crashes, simply that they were one of the involved parties, as only 9% of them were actually distracted during the reported crashes. 

For years now, teen drivers especially, have been targeted with a litany of safe driving sentiments. Whether it be at school, at home, or in the media, foreboding opinions and warnings are constantly flooding in. NHTSA, s program of the United States Department of Transportation,  shares that there are even official, government-supported programs, such as U Drive. U Text. U Pay. But what have these done to really prevent anything? Distracted driving still not only occurs, but in prominent numbers. 

Perhaps years of unsuccessful campaigns have led government officials to take legal action against the cause, hoping it will bring about some kind of change. By making distracted driving a prosecutable offense, they are most likely hoping to employ fear tactics, in order to disincentivize drivers from driving with whatever distraction it might be. 

Speeding is also by law, a traffic violation, and just about every driver on the road speeds, so what will a bill doing the same thing for texting really do? Just look around next time you are on the road and you will find your answer.