A day late and a dollar short.
Welcome to the debut of Ohio’s texting law, which takes effect today.
In defiance of all logic, our state legislators decided that texting while driving should only be a secondary offense for anyone over the age of 17. This despite the fact that texting while driving is more dangerous than driving drunk.
A “secondary offense” means that if you’re driving down the street, punching out a text message to a friend, and a cop looks in your side window and sees you doing it, the cop can’t pull you over unless you’ve done something else wrong.
In other words, most of Ohio’s texting tickets will be handed out in conjunction with “assured clear distance” tickets. You will be stopped at a red light and a texter will smash into you from behind and get two citations. And everyone will go home happy, according to our lawmakers.
Why could 35 other states in this troubled union figure out texting should be a primary offense, but Ohio could not?
By the way, those 35 other states are in the process of receiving $17.5 million from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to combat the deadly habit. States with even tighter primary laws, such as increased fines for subsequent offenses, get additional money. The handful of states with secondary laws don’t get a dime.
Ohio has no problem steamrolling our most basic Fourth Amendment rights by setting up random checkpoints to troll for drunken drivers, but we’re not willing to let the police stop us when they see us texting?
If someone can explain the logic behind that, I’m all ears.
Surprised we haven’t heard anything about it, but apparently the once-sleepy town of Orrville is on the brink of turning into Syria.
The Wayne County burg of 8,387, just outside Wooster, has obtained a 12½-ton armored personnel carrier.
It’s 15 feet long and 8 feet wide and has a top speed of 35 mph.
A story in the Wooster Daily Record quoted the police chief as saying, “It is the city’s responsibility to keep its residents safe.”
And apparently, to rip up its streets as well.
The Ohio Department of Public Safety, which served as the liaison between Orrville and the Defense Department, tells me the vehicle cost $245,000 when the government bought it in the mid-1980s and is worth about $56,000 today.
Orrville got it for nothing, with the only stipulation being city officials can’t dispose of the beast unless they give it to another police department or hand it back to the Defense Department.
Unfortunately, the armored personnel carrier didn’t come with a trailer. The city is in the market for one. Got an extra trailer lying around that will support 25,000 pounds?
Not since Mike Dukakis rode his career-killing M1 Abrams tank has anything looked sillier than an APC in Orrville.
Not sure that texting while bike riding is an issue at this point, but it might become one if more folks follow the lead of Jack Hayes of Cuyahoga Falls, who commutes to work five miles each way on two wheels.
The 64-year-old Vietnam veteran experienced car troubles a couple of years ago and started walking to work. Later, he bought a bike and discovered the commute was enjoyable. And thanks to last year’s mild winter, thus far he has been able to bike to work year-round.
Recently, his rides have taken on added meaning.
Hayes has launched a Facebook page called “Remembering the 58k,” a reference to the 58,272 American service members who died in Vietnam.
“For every mile I ride,” he says, “I list the names of those to be remembered that day. Right now I am listing five names per mile.”
Hayes doesn’t cut-and-paste the names from a list, but enters them with keystrokes because he finds it more meaningful.
“It is very sobering to type the names out each morning.”
He’s hoping readers who are on Facebook will stop by his site and “like” it.
Says Hayes: “It would be great to get 58,272 ‘likes’ — one for each soldier.”
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.