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Distracted driving bill to create tighter rules for Ohio drivers

According to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration, distracted driving kills on average nine people each day nationwide.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous things you can do.

According to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration,  distracted driving kills on average nine people each day nationwide.

The Ohio Legislature House Bill 283 could change distracted driving laws in Ohio. Under the current law, officers can’t pull you over solely for texting and driving if you’re older than 18. It’s currently considered a secondary offense.

Under HB 283, holding a cell phone or any electronic device while driving is enough for officers to pull you over. It would then be considered a primary offense.

For Cathy Doug Richeson, their fight against distracted driving is never-ending.

Richeson remembers the exact moment their lives would change forever. 

"August 29, 2014, at 3:40 in the afternoon,” she said. "I thought I was having a heart attack and I hadn't had enough water to drink that day. It turns out that wasn't the case.”

Richeson's son, Nathan Richeson, a Captain in the Air National Guard, was hit by a distracted driver while changing a flat tire.

“It was Nathan’s right to stay alive and that right was taken away by a distracted driver,” Richeson said.

Kimberly Schwind is a spokesperson for AAA. She said the organization supports the proposed bill. 

Schwind said the state of Ohio passed the distracted driving legislation a decade ago, but as technology advances, laws that protect people need to change as well.

"Looking away from the road for just two seconds doubles your risk of crashing and when you're looking at your phone, you're looking away for a whole lot longer than that,” Schwind said.

That day in August 2014 is one Richeson will never forget. She said she knows change to road laws in the future will honor his life.

"That's why we are doing what we're doing, so that another person, hopefully not one more person has to drive behind a hearse bringing their son back to a funeral home,” she said.

The bill was last heard by the Criminal Justice Committee on Feb. 15.

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