Two Ohio representatives have introduced legislation that would bar Ohio drivers from holding a phone while driving, making Ohio a “hands-free” state.
The bill, sponsored by Reps. Cindy Abrams (R-29-Harrison) and Brian Lampton (R-73-Beavercreek), was introduced on Monday.
“A recent survey found that distracted driving is overwhelmingly the number one concern for Ohio drivers,” Abrams said in a statement last week announcing the legislation. “The goal of this bill is to make our state a safer place to travel and reduce the amount of deaths and injuries on our roads.”
There have been nearly 70,000 crashes caused by distracted driving between 2016 and 2021 with an average of more than 13,000 annually between 2016 and 2020, according to data from the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
By comparison, the number of alcohol-related crashes between 2016 and 2021 was a little more than 59,000.
The legislation would also create a “single swipe” policy that allows drivers to touch their device once, as long as they are not inputting symbols or numbers, such as would be used to answer a phone call.
“I am honored to work with Representative Abrams on this legislation,” Lampton said in a statement. “With over 30 years of experience in the insurance industry, distracted driving incidents are something I am all too familiar with. This legislation will help prevent further tragedies from taking place on our roads and highways.”
According to the representatives, 44 states currently have passed distracted driving laws. Those states subsequently saw a drop in fatal accidents within two years, according to Abrams.
Read the legislation text here.
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Ohio Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair.
Photo “Brian Lampton” by The Ohio House of Representatives and photo “Cindy Abrams” by The Ohio House of Representatives.