Ohio is surrounded by states that have outlawed texting while driving. So far, 36 states have banned the practice.
A bill to ban texting while driving was passed overwhelmingly in the Ohio House last year. But a similar measure remains stalled in the state senate.
That's not because senators are anxious about angering the pro-texting camp. There are two main hangups: how to define the activity, and whether the ban could be enforced.
That first question shouldn't be ignored. Texting, in its most basic form, isn't the only way mobile devices can distract drivers. Surfing the Web, having Words with Friends, updating a Facebook account, and reading or writing a Tweet should qualify.
But our state senators are smart enough to deal with that; plus, they have three dozen enacted bans to draw from in drafting their own. The version passed by the House would ban a driver from "using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send or read a text-based communication."
The enforcement aspect is a genuine concern. Yet the legislators should know some people will continue to engage in a risky behavior until a law tells them it's officially a Bad Idea.
But don't expect existing reckless driving statutes to accomplish that task. State code defines reckless operation as a "willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property."
If state senators can craft a ban on texting while driving which improves on the House version, they should do so. Otherwise, they should approve a similar measure. ASAP.
"There's no way you can read or send a text (while driving) and do it safely," said Rep. Rex Damschroder, R-Fremont, a sponsor of the House bill.