Lawmaker upset that distracted driving bill is stalled


Lawmakers say a crash earlier this week on I-70 highlights the need for tougher distracted driving laws.

Ohio State Highway Patrol says it's investigating whether distraction caused the driver of a semi to drive through a safety zone of flares and smash into a cruiser.

Ohio Senator Jim Hughes says Senate Bill 146 creates stiffer fines if distracted driving causes you to violate the rules of the road.

"It's like a construction zone where we increase a penalty $100,” Sen. Hughes said. 

10TV's Dom Tiberi, whose daughter Maria lost her life in a car crash in 2013, testified in support of the bill. Ohio Senators clearly heard Maria's Message.

“It did pass unanimously. 32-0. Out of senate,” Hughes said.   

Take The Pledge To End Distracted Driving: Maria's Message

That was in June of 2015. Now it seems the Ohio House has steered the bill into the slow lane. 

The chairman of the House safety committee, Representative Jim Butler, tells 10TV some lawmakers have raised concerns over the detailed breakdown of electronic devices. 

He says it may be possible to simplify the bill, which covers any distracting activity that interferes with safe driving.

The safety chair says it's possible the legislation could come up for a vote in the house before lawmakers break for the summer.

Sen. Hughes says he believes it's time to hit the legislative accelerator.

“My point is let's get it done now because we could save a life,” he said. “If we save just one life with this bill think about it.  That's worth it.”