Texting and driving now a primary offense in University Heights

November 14th, 2013

While technology is becoming increasingly vital to everyday life, it has also cost many lives due to vehicular accidents. University Heights is taking action by making texting while driving a primary offense in the city as of Aug. 13, 2013. According to University Heights police chief Steve Hammett, the law states, “No person shall use an electronic wireless communications device in any manner while driving a motor vehicle in the city, including composing, sending or receiving text messages and using an electronic wireless device to dial, answer, talk or listen.”

Hammett added that the law does not affect those who are contacting emergency personnel, and one can be on the phone if they are removed from the flow of traffic. The use of hands-free devices is also an exception to this law. According to Hammett, if a member of the police department encounters a citizen texting while driving, enforcement actions will be taken up to and including the issuance of a citation.

Since the Millennial generation is extremely reliant on cell phone usage, John Carroll University students weighed in on the issue.

“I don’t text and drive, and I think that this law should be implemented statewide,” said sophomore Colton Ebersole.

“It’s a good law, but it seems to be infringing on my personal freedom,” said sophomore Anne Hetson.

University Heights mayor, Susan Infeld also weighed in on the new texting while driving law.

“The city council passed the law regarding the ‘hands free’ cell phone use for drivers out of concern that drivers are distracted if holding and using a cell phone,” said Infeld.

Infeld also explained that warnings were given out to University Heights citizens for about a month after the law was passed. Infeld said that only five tickets were issued in the first month.

“To date, there have not been a tremendous number of tickets issued for violation of the ordinance,” said Infeld.

The overall response to the change in the texting while driving law is relatively positive. Both Hammett and Infeld agree that the new law will affect members of the University Heights positively by keeping they safe both on and off the road.

“If the city can avoid traffic accidents, injuries and fatalities related to automobiles in the city, then we believe the impact of this ordinance to drivers in the city will be a success,” said Infeld.