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Madison County students push for bill against distracted driving in Ohio

A group of high school students in Madison County is pushing for a bill to pass to help end distracted driving in the state.

LONDON, Ohio — Ohio House Bill 283 is working its way through the House and some students at Madison-Plains High School have taken notice.  

The walls of the high school are covered with posters students have created with images and writing on the danger of distracted driving.  

Senior Rylee Davis and sophomore Emily Legault didn’t realize how distracted they were when they first started to drive. 

“The first two weeks I know I was focused, and after a while, I was like, 'I know how to drive it's fine,'” Legault said.  

Their teacher, Kimberly Jarvis, helped them realize how dangerous distracted driving really is.

"It's the number one leading cause of death in teenagers,” Jarvis said. “A lot of students feel like they're invincible. They don't feel like this is important.”

Through the Family Career & Community Leaders of America program, students are planning a week-long event in April geared towards raising awareness on the dangers of distracted driving.

Jarvis said the students also started a petition advocating for House Bill 283. They hope to get as many signatures as possible by April. 

HB 283 would ban holding a phone while behind the wheel if you're older than 18. It would then be considered a primary offense. Under the current law, officers can’t pull a person over solely for texting and driving. It’s currently a secondary offense.

“They're really looking at their lives, and they're really understanding,” Jarvis said.

10TV also spoke with Lieutenant Merrill Thompson, post commander for the West Jefferson Post for the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

He echoes and supports the work the students are doing to raise awareness about distracted driving.

"When a student or a young person knows it's a problem, it's always going to be in the back of their mind, because they know it's a problem,” he said.

It’s only the beginning for these students, but they hope the work they do now will last for years to come and keep people safe.

"Coming from an actual student and not a teacher or a parent, I feel like it's more beneficial," Davis said.

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