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Texting and Driving: Lakewood Wants Your Input

Public safety forum slated for Dec. 13 to discuss the issue.

Lakewood City Council is eyeing a measure that would take the state’s ban on texting and driving a step further.

While the ordinance remains in council’s public safety committee, city officials want to get some feedback from the public. 

A public hearing is set to take place in the No. 2 lecture hall at Lakewood High School at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 13.

The event is open to the public. 

Ward 1 city councilman David Anderson recently introduced the measure that would, among other things, make texting and driving a primary offense for adults.

That means, should the proposed city ordinance pass, that police could stop motorists just for texting while driving.  

Right now, the state law makes texting and driving a primary offense for minors only.

"Establishing a Lakewood texting and talking ban as a primary offense would make drivers of all ages more aware that full time and attention incudes no texting and talking,” Anderson said in September.

Lakewood already has a “full time and attention” law on the books that allows police to stop motorists who text and drive, but the proposed new ordinance would make the law more “clear,” Anderson said.

“I find this notion very similar to a sobriety checkpoint where we do not just wait to see if a driver is swerving in and out of a lane,” he said in an address to council. “We also set up checkpoints to identify intoxicated drivers before they have an opportunity to harm others or themselves.

Even though the state law has already passed, no one will get ticketed just yet. There's a six-month grace period built into the law, and police won’t issue warnings until March 1.

But "texting" doesn't just mean thumbing in messages. It applies to reading, too — even checking your email, according to the law.

Research shows that using a cell phone has a comparable negative impact on one’s ability to drive as driving under the influence of alcohol.

According to the Ohio Highway Patrol, there were more than 31,000 automobile crashes in Ohio that were a result of distracted driving between 2009 and 2011.

Other Cuyahoga County communities including Beachwood, Brooklyn and North Olmsted have already fully banned the use of cell phones while driving.

According to the event posting on Lakewood Patch, testimony at the Dec. 13 forum may be submitted in person at the hearing or in advance via email.

Speakers will be limited to three minutes and are asked to sign up fifteen minutes in advance in the lecture hall.

Renee December 06, 2012 at 02:26 PM
I don't think cell phone use via hands free devices should be banned. In my opinion, it is no different than talking to someone in your car while driving, or changing the radio station, or CD player, people who smoke, lighting their cigarettes while driving, etc. Texting while driving, that is different. I agree no texting. We should be able to use cell phones via hands free devices while driving. Again, I feel it is the same as talking to someone in the car with you while driving.
Cindy December 06, 2012 at 02:35 PM
I think they should! My daughter and I almost got into a very dangerous accident because someone driving approx, 30mph through a red light and he was talking on his phone...Although I am guilty of doing the same thing I am now reconsidering that action. We did fine without them years ago, We can do it again. If someone wants to talk to you then Pull over or call them when you get home.
patrick guzik December 07, 2012 at 04:16 AM
Texting???? Seriously another way for the city to make money abusing your right if you cant do two things at once dont drive
ryan kraft December 07, 2012 at 04:48 AM
Almost there for being a communist city
Angie December 07, 2012 at 04:10 PM
All of your comments are unreadable. You need to learn how to use commas and periods.
Maureen McHugh December 07, 2012 at 05:17 PM
To Renee's comment - the ordinance is proposing to prohibit texting by adult drivers but will not prohibit talking or using a hands-free device by adult drivers. However, I'm sure you'd agree that it's a good thing to prohibit new drivers (teens) from using phones or electronic devices in any capacity.
bill Mason December 07, 2012 at 07:33 PM
I think that's right Patrick city will make more money in fines.........
Patch reader December 07, 2012 at 10:29 PM
"Make texting and driving a primary offense for adults." Good. This can't happen soon enough. The fact that even ONE PERSON has died because of this practice makes me glad that Lakewood is doing something about it. I have passed people in the fast lane on the highway who were weaving all over the place because they are texting. It is just as bad as driving drunk and deserves the same penalty.

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