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New Ohio Distracted Driving Law Targets Paw and Order

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A new Ohio distracted driving law might make you a recipient of police citation if you are distracted by your pet while behind the wheel.

So you are telling me you cannot scratch my ears today because it’s a distraction? Woof you!
Photo: Alan Levine

A new Ohio distracted driving law is taking aim at another possible disruption in your car while on the road –your pet.

Beginning Dec. 20, the police department in the village of Mantua will be able to issue citations if they see drivers holding an animal or turning away from the road to focus on to their pet.


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Needed Action

Mayor Linda Clark says the rule is necessary to combat this problem.

“It’s going to create issues when you’re trying to turn or if a dog sees something and they move around that they could obstruct your vision, so it’s a matter of keeping the animal safe as well as the driver,” Clark said.

The same ordinance lists writing, sending or reading a text as against the law. Those who want to make a phone call though will not have to worry about getting cited.

A driver’s first citation will be a minor misdemeanor. However, if the person pulled over commits a second offense in less than a year from that date, he or she will receive a misdemeanor in the third degree, which is the equivalent consequence of a traffic accident.

Distract You How

Perhaps you do not see your pet as a distraction while you are driving, but there are a handful of ways your furry friend can put yours and the lives of others in grave danger.

No Restraint

While allowing a pet to ride without a restraint is considered dangerous, many people allow it. This makes your pet vulnerable to injury or death in the event of a car accident. Your cuddly buddy may also hurt other passengers, including small children. Utilizing a pet restraint will benefit you and your family more than you can imagine.

Pet Selfies

Photographing yourself in a moving vehicle is a bad idea. Your dog’s cute haircut does not make it any safer. Save the picture of your dog licking your face for when you pull into the driveway at home. Your canine will thank you later.

Treats

Anytime you give your pet the idea that you have something delicious in your hand, enthusiastic chaos sparks. The same will happen in your vehicle if you get out the food or say the word “treat.”

Lap Pets

Some pets enjoy riding in style by sitting on their owner’s laps during an afternoon drive. The idea might seem harmless, but pets are spontaneous and busy. As soon as you think they are calmed down and content, they are up in your face or looking out the window. View your pet as your child. You wouldn’t let them ride on your lap, so you shouldn’t allow Fluffy the lap treatment either.

Petting Animals

The initial reaction to a pet in the car is for a driver to remove one hand from the steering wheel and give Rover a scratch behind the ears or a friendly pat on the head. This process may even result in you taking your eyes off the road.


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Whether we admit it or not, pets can be an interruption to a task that requires our full attention. The new Ohio distracted driving law may be a unique means of enforcing focused driving, but it serves as a reminder that the things we treasure can trash our futures if we are not responsible with them.

Source: Fox 8, CBS Philly, KSL