Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, distracted driving accidents and deaths are continuing to occur at an astounding rate in Ohio. It was recently announced that 154 people were killed on Ohio highways in the month of July, the deadliest month since 2007. This has sparked calls by governorMike DeWine for new penalties for drivers who text or use other devices while behind the wheel. At Paulozzi LPA Injury Lawyers, our Cleveland distracted driving accident attorneys want to discuss recent statistics as well as how changes to the law would help.
In March and April of 2020, there were reports that traffic had decreased by as much as 50% in some areas across the country. Initially, it was thought that this would lead to a decrease in traffic accidents and fatalities. However, July of this year was incredibly deadly for Ohio roadways.
According to Gov.DeWine, 154 people were killed on Ohio highways in July.
One of the leading contributors to these accidents was speeding. Data also indicates that motorcycle fatalities for July were up 52% compared to the previous year and pedestrian fatalities were up 113% from the previous year.
Gov. DeWine has called on the Ohio General Assembly to pass Senate Bill 285. This bill, which has been in a Senate committee, would increase the penalty for texting and driving from a minor misdemeanor to a new unclassified misdemeanor crime of “using electronic wireless communication devices while driving.” This new proposed crime would come with a $150 fine as well as additional penalties for multiple violations that occur within a three-year period.
“It’s a good bill, is supported by every safety group, and should have bipartisan support,” said Gov. DeWine.
Under the current distracted driving laws in Ohio, this violation is considered a secondary offense. This means that officers have to witness another crime before they are allowed to pull vehicles over and write a ticket for distracted driving. Law enforcement officials have long complained that this makes it very difficult to enforce distracted driving rules in this state. However, the new Senate bill would make using a wireless communication device while driving a primary offense. This means that police would be able to pull somebody over solely based on witnessing them using a wireless device.
If you or somebody you love has been injured due to the actions of a distracted driver, seek assistance from the attorney as soon as possible. At Paulozzi LPA Injury Lawyers, we are ready to get to work investigating your case today. Our goal is to secure the compensation you are entitled to, which can include: