Do texting and driving laws apply to other things?
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!