Under current state law, adults may not text
and drive, and must first be
pulled over for something else. It’s called a secondary offense. A person under
age 18 may not text or talk
driving, and it’s a primary offense, meaning on officer may stop the motorist
upon seeing a cell phone being used.
So Matthews is essentially proposing to make the
state law for minors apply to everyone driving inside city limits. He says he’s
proposing the ordinance because he feels the state law isn’t strong enough…
law does not have enough teeth in it.
Mostly, the state law is just dealing with children - underage drivers. What I’m proposing is to go farther than
that. If we’re going to do anything and
pass anything, it has to be more punitive than the state law.”
Under current Ohio law, it’s a minor misdemeanor
with a fine of up to $150 if an adult driver is caught texting. For minors, the first violation is a $150
fine and a 60 day license suspension for texting or talking behind the wheel.
Matthews says he’s looked at ordinances in several
other Ohio cities in formulating his proposal…
“They include Beachwood, Ohio; Brooklyn; North
Olmsted; North Royalton; South Euclid; Walton Hills; and Woodmere. These communities treat violations as primary
offenses. Of course, (with) the state
law, texting is a secondary offense for adults and usage for minors is a
primary offense. What I’m proposing is
to do both of them (as primary).”
City Council has agreed to look at the proposal,
and has scheduled a public meeting for people to voice their opinions.
Matthews says it’s always important to get
input on issues before making decisions. So far he’s gotten a positive
“Give people a chance to air their differences out
either way. But all the calls I’m
getting, they’re all supportive of it.
You don’t know, there might be a lot of people come out against it. And, I’ve even had a couple of people tell me
they have put it on Facebook that they’re supporting me.”
That public meeting is scheduled for Tuesday,
October 8, at 7:00 PM at the Lookout Park Community Center, located here on