Dec 10, 2012

Do texting and driving laws apply to other things?

With the new law about texting and driving, how does this apply to the Police and newspaper delivery? I have seen all our local County, and State police typing on laptops when they are driving (as they passed on Perkins Ave. or 250) or even stopped at red lights. I do believe in the new law it states we can't text even at a stop light. Also, I was behind a vehicle on Huron-Avery Road near Hoover Road two days ago, on the bumper of the car in stickers it read, "caution throwing newspapers." How is it legal to fold, bag and throw newspaper from moving car? Thank you, Mike from Perkins

I see where you're going with this, Mike. To continue the thought, how is it legal to eat a cheeseburger while driving? Or to apply makeup? Or dig through your glove compartment for a stick of gum? You'd have to specifically name each one of these under the law, and then add to it every time someone found a new way to be distracted while driving. It's just not very practical. The new texting laws apply to just that — texting. They were created as a deterrent to a growing number of texting-related crashes noticed by both law enforcement officers and insurance companies — both of which lobbied Ohio lawmakers to making texting and driving illegal. If there was a sudden spike in cheeseburger-eating related crashes, you can bet those same groups would call for a ban on eating while driving. It's all based on statistics. That being said, even without a law banning each individual unsafe driving practice, police aren't powerless. If you're swerving around or if you get into a crash, you can still be cited for failure to control your vehicle or reckless driving. Those laws cover anything police deem to be unsafe driving that harms public safety. As for police typing while in their patrol cars or newspaper delivery drivers, clearly texting laws don't apply. But reckless driving laws do if the person is unable to maintain control of their vehicle while doing whatever they are doing. I'd suggest, though, that most people who work on road (delivery drivers, truck drivers, police, construction crews etc.) are pretty vigilant. These are dangerous jobs and those workers livelihoods are tied to their ability to drive. It wouldn't make sense to risk your life, your job, or your vehicle on reckless driving — and those who do will suffer many more consequences than those merely cited for texting and driving. That being said, Mike, if you do see a driver out there who is causing a legitimate threat to public safety (swerving around, stopping short, cutting off other drivers) you should definitely call police — or if it is police, take down the time/place/cruiser number and call the department's supervisor. Drive safe!

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nosey rosey

Almost every morning I pass a woman reading as she is driving - the book is propped up in the center of her steering wheel. Unfortunately we can't legislate against stupid!


The police do the same thing in Norwalk and Milan...your not alone!!


Law enforcement and other first responders are exempt from the Ohio texting law. This includes EMS, and Firefighters. For brevity I only copied the sections of the ORC that apply.

4511.204 Driving while texting.
A) No person shall drive a motor vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar on any street, highway, or property open to the public for vehicular traffic while using a handheld electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication.

(B) Division (A) of this section does not apply to any of the following:

(1) A person using a handheld electronic wireless communications device in that manner for emergency purposes, including an emergency contact with a law enforcement agency, hospital or health care provider, fire department, or other similar emergency agency or entity;

(2) A person driving a public safety vehicle who uses a handheld electronic wireless communications device in that manner in the course of the person’s duties;

Sarah Weber

You're right, KnuckleDragger, I should have mentioned that as well. Thanks for posting the info.

BW1's picture

Because, like, public saftety personnel have superhuman powers like extra eyes in their forehead to see the road while reading the screen, right? And, like, a 5 ton ambulance is magically unable to do any damage if it hits something, right?


Amen, BW1. I also am tired of seeing first responders acting all "godlike". When one kills others to save a life, they've just at least, doubled the trauma.


I don't know that our newspaper delivery person texts while driving but she drives through here like a bat out of hell and you never know where you will find your paper. Today I got it from off the road. Sometimes its halfway down the vacant lot next door, other times its across the street. I am seriously considering dropping my subscription when it is up next month. My husband and I are to old to go through what we have to to pick up our paper in the winter.


tk, that is exactly the reason why we stopped subscribing years ago. When I have home delivery, I expect the newspaper to be on my front porch or mailbox, and in plastic if it's raining or snowing. If I wanted to search for the paper in my bushes, or get out of my vehicle before I park to get the paper out of my driveway before I park over it, I wouldn't have ordered a home subscription--it's easier to go to the store two blocks away and buy one when I want one.


We had sloppy delivery service a few years ago similar to what you mention above. I contacted the SR to let them know and the delivery has been very good ever since


I almost wrecked my car on Bogart last year when the driver of a van in the other lane threw a newspaper across my hood. He could have at least waited until I passed!

God Of Thunder

Wasn't this section about texting and driving???? How, all of a sudden, did it become about the delivery of the paper??


i did notice one of the registers pro-drivers today, swerving all over the road left of center, into the grass. super pro guys