July 27th, 2011|
You may have noticed new signs about cell phone use posted along Chagrin Boulevard and Brainard roads in Woodmere, Ohio. Woodmere has taken a new initiative to enforce Codified Ordinance 331.45 of that community that was originally passed in December, 2001.
According to the Woodmere Ordinance, cell phone use is banned within their municipal limits unless a hands-free device is used, or the call is to inform a governmental entity about a public safety concern, or the vehicle is parked.
Ohio is in the majority of states that have not regulated the use of cell phones. In fact, according to the Govenors Highway Safety Association only 9 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have regulated cell phone use while driving a vehicle. Although many Cleveland suburbs, like Woodmere, have passed regulations on the use of cell phones and texting, the State of Ohio has clearly dropped the ball.
In representing the victims of hundreds of automobile accidents over the past 26 years, I have witnessed the harm caused by driver inattentiveness and carelessness. As a licensed driver in the State of Ohio for the past 37 years, I have watched other drivers reading the newspaper, texting on their cell phone, and fixing their hair and make-up while still driving a motor vehicle.
CBS News reported, in a study completed last year, that 1 out of 4 crashes are now caused by a “cell phone driver” and crashes caused by a driver using a cell phone nearly tripled from 600,000 to 1.6 million by 2008.
Currently two bills are pending in the Ohio General Assembly that may effectuate the needed change in this state. House Bill 99 would ban texting while driving a vehicle, while Senate Bill 35 would ban cell phone use while driving a vehicle. Similar bills introduced in the past failed to gain the necessary support. We need to contact our State Representatives and urge passage of these bills. We need to act now to protect our families and children before another Ohioan becomes the victim of a senseless accident.
Authored by Attorney Jeffrey A. Leikin