Driving into Danger

by Brittany Harris on February 16, 2011 at 8:32 am

Driving and texting is becoming a serious problem in the U.S. and now state lawmakers here in Ohio are working to ban it completely.

You’re driving along and get a text message, you look down for just a few seconds and suddenly you find yourself in a near-accident. This scenario is becoming all too familiar to motorists across the country.

Auto Club AAA conducted a study last summer and you’d be surprised at the statistics they discovered.

"We found out in that study that nine out of ten people view it as unacceptable to be texting while driving but still a quarter of people do it, so you have a little bit of a overlap there between people who know its wrong and are still doing it." said Spokesperson for AAA Kimberly Schwind.

Ohio lawmakers have recently introduced House Bill 99 banning texting while driving. Violators would be convicted of a minor misdemeanor. There are however, a few exceptions to using a phone in the car, some of them include for emergencies, placing calls, and for public safety officials.

"Back in 2009 AAA across the country started an initiative to get texting bans passed in all 50 states, currently we have texting bans in 30 states and Ohio is not one of them," said Schwind.

In a AAA 2010 member survey, it was found that 75% of Ohio drivers believe that distracted driving is one of their top three safety concerns.

"There’s so many people that have been killed and injured in accidents whether they were the ones texting or the ones that were the victim of it once they got hit, so I think it’s a great idea," said student Jessie Lundell.

"I’m guilty of doing the occasional texting and I’ve almost swerved off the road and it scared me half to death and so I try not to and I think it’d be a great idea," said student Skyler Booth

While many may now consider using a hands-free head set while driving, Schwind said there are still risks involved.

"Your mind is still engaged somewhere else when you’re talking hands free, you’re not focusing on the road, so hands free doesn’t mean danger free."

Officials encourage to wait to use your phone until you arrive at your destination.