Like many states across the country, Ohio has banned texting while driving. The ban, in effect since 2013, has led to 440 tickets being written up by the State Highway Patrol Officers. Of the 240,000 accidents in the state since the beginning of this year, distractions were a factor in 6,000, and of those, texting and emailing contributed to 137 crashes.
Before deciding whether the ban is effective or not, it is important to understand the types of laws that can be in effect and their varying success. A primary ban is one in which a police officer can stop a driver they see texting behind the wheel. A secondary ban is one where police officers cannot stop a driver for texting, unless they commit another traffic violation first. In Ohio, an officer can stop a driver under 17-years-old for texting as a primary offense, but cannot stop adult drivers, unless they commit a primary violation.
However, when it comes to reducing the number of car accidents, recent research conducted by researchers and published in the American Journal of Public Health suggests that secondary bans are not as effective as primary ones. Primary bans have contributed to reducing accidents by 3% between 2000 and 2010. On the other hand, secondary bans have had pretty much no impact.
According to a county sheriff, the ban has done little to reduce accidents. In fact, troopers claim it is harder to enforce the ban in adults because they try to hide the fact that they were on the phone. In order for the ban to be effective, there needs to be more voluntary compliance.
A car accident caused by a distraction, such as texting, is one that can be entirely avoidable. Ohio drivers should drive responsibly, after all, they would not close their eyes and drive, then why should they text and drive.
Source: Dispatch.com, “Ohio’s texting ban: does it work?,” Rick Rouan, Aug. 15, 2014